When you think of fettuccine alfredo you may think of a rich dish filled with heavy cream, but an authentic fettuccine alfredo is made with only three ingredients and contains no cream at all! This shrimp fettuccine alfredo is a take on the classic Italian dish, complete with a little boost of protein, and is ready in less than 20 minutes making it a great healthy weeknight dinner.
What is the origin of Alfredo?
Fettuccine alfredo is most definitely a comfort food; long ribbons of pasta are covered in a velvety sauce, however, the authentic recipe is much simpler than people may think. While many consider fettuccine alfredo an American dish, alfredo originated in Italy and, rumor has it, was created by Alfredo Di Lelio. Traditionally known as Fettuccine all’Alfredo, the original dish contains no cream, as the traditional Roman recipe is made with only pasta, butter, and cheese. While American versions of fettuccine alfredo commonly use cream to thicken the sauce, the creamy texture of a traditional alfredo sauce actually comes from the emulsion of starchy pasta water and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, a simple cooking technique that creates a silky texture and creamy sauce.
How to Make Shrimp Alfredo Pasta
While making homemade alfredo may seem intimidating, it’s much easier than you may think. If you can cook pasta, melt butter and cheese, and toss things together, you can easily make this classic dish! Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Cook the pasta. In a large pot of boiling, well-salted water, cook the fettuccini noodles to al dente or as per the package directions.
- Cook the shrimp. While the noodles are cooking, cook the shrimp. In a large pan, warm a bit of olive oil and cook the shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side until pink. Be careful to not overcook them as they will cook a bit more once you return them to the pasta.
- Prepare the alfredo sauce. Once you’ve cooked the shrimp, prepare the alfredo sauce. Add a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water to the pan and bring it to a simmer. Then add knobs of butter, allowing it to melt completely before adding more, and whisk it as it melts to incorporate it with the pasta water. Once you’ve added all the butter, add the freshly grated parmesan cheese, in batches, until you’ve reached a smooth and creamy texture. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
- Toss the pasta in the sauce. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it to remove excess water, then transfer it to the pan with the alfredo sauce and gently toss it to combine.
- Add the shrimp. Once the pasta and sauce are well combined, return the cooked shrimp to the pan, gently tossing to coat them in the sauce.
- Serve and enjoy! For optimal flavor and texture, the shrimp alfredo pasta is best served immediately. Feel free to add an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese, black pepper, and/or garnish of fresh parsley if you like.
What to do with leftovers?
Should there be any, leftover shrimp fettuccini alfredo can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can you freeze shrimp fettuccine alfredo?
Yes, shrimp fettuccine alfredo can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Can you reheat shrimp fettuccine alfredo?
Yup. To reheat leftover shrimp alfredo, add the pasta to a large pan on low-medium heat and add splashes of water, stirring consistently, to loosen up the sauce as it cooks until the pasta is warm and the alfredo sauce has a creamy texture.
What proteins go with Alfredo?
While this shrimp alfredo recipe uses shrimp, for obvious reasons, alfredo pasta pairs well with many different protein sources. Here are my top protein recommendations to pair with alfredo:
- Pork chops
- Pork tenderloin
- White fish
While truly any of the above protein sources will pair nicely, I think the freshness and lightness of this no-cream alfredo sauce pairs particularly well with fish or shellfish.
What is the best side dish for pasta?
Pasta is a source of complex carbohydrates which, typically, contains a source of fat in the form of oil, butter, or cheese, and often contains protein in the form of meat or fish, therefore, pairing pasta with a side dish of vegetables can help to create a more well-balanced meal by increasing the fiber and micronutrient content. Some high-fiber side dishes would include:
- Green salad
- Roasted broccoli
- Grilled asparagus
- Steamed green beans
If you’ve yet to try making an authentic homemade fettuccine alfredo, I definitely suggest you give it a go! Not only is it delicious but once you’ve mastered the basics you can take your own twist on the dish, much like I did with high-protein shrimp fettuccine alfredo.
More Pasta Recipes:
Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
This fettuccine Alfredo with shrimp is a twist on an authentic fettuccine alfredo. The addition of tender shrimp to this dish creates a well-balanced meal complete with over 40 grams of protein per serving.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- 8–10 shrimp, thawed and peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces fettuccine, dry
- 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Black pepper
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped
- In a large pot, bring well-salted water to a boil, and cook the fettuccine as per package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
- In a large skillet on medium-high heat, warm the olive oil, then add shrimp to the pan in a single layer and cook for 1-2 minutes per side until slightly pink and no longer translucent. Once cooked, remove the shrimp from the pan and set it aside on a plate.
- In the same pan, on medium heat, add ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the butter, one ½ tablespoon of butter at a time, and allow it to melt, occasionally whisking to encourage it.
- Once the butter is melted, slowly add the grated cheese in batches, allowing it to melt before adding more, whisking constantly until it’s well incorporated with the butter and the sauce is smooth.
- Once cooked, add the drained pasta to the pan with the butter and cheese mixture, gently tossing the pasta in the sauce, and add more of the pasta cooking liquid as needed, until well coated.
- Return the cooked shrimp to the pan and toss gently to incorporate it with the pasta.
- Serve immediately with a sprinkle of black pepper, fresh parsley, and additional parmesan cheese.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 617 calories
- Sugar: 3 grams
- Fat: 20 grams
- Carbohydrates: 64 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 44 grams
Keywords: fettuccine alfredo with shrimp