Four Ways to Thicken Alfredo Sauce
Creamy and decadent, eating any pasta coated in alfredo sauce is always a real treat. And this mouthwatering sauce is actually surprisingly simple to make at home—all you need is unsalted butter, garlic, heavy cream, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. But what happens if your alfredo sauce isn't quite reaching the consistency you'd like? If you're wondering how to thicken this sauce to achieve a silky, irresistibly delicious pasta topper, try any of these tips.
If you want to thicken alfredo sauce, there are a few things you can try. The first method is not only the easiest, but also arguably the most delicious. The key ingredient in alfredo sauce is cheese—generally Parmigiano-Reggiano—and lots of it. To thicken alfredo sauce, you can add more cheese than the amount that is called for in a recipe until you achieve the consistency that you want.
Reduce Heavy Cream
Another way to thicken alfredo sauce is by further reducing the heavy cream during the cooking process, but before you add the cheese. "Generally, heavy cream is reduced by half to make an alfredo sauce. If you want an even thicker, richer sauce, you can triple reduce it," says Christopher Arturo, chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education. This means that if a recipe calls for one cup of heavy cream, you should reduce it until it measures about 1/3 of a cup; the water content will have evaporated, leaving behind a very decadent triple-cream.
Toss Pasta with Flour
If you're serving fresh pasta with homemade alfredo sauce, one way to naturally thicken the sauce is by tossing the uncooked pasta with lots of flour before cooking it in salted, boiling water. The flour will help form a very starchy pasta water; when you transfer the pasta to the sauce, it will carry over some of that starch, which will thicken the sauce, says Arturo.
Finally, Arturo says that you can make a cornstarch slurry, which is a mixture of cornstarch and water that should resemble the consistency of heavy cream. "Always make more than you need and use less than you think," he says. To make a cornstarch slurry, whisk together equal parts of cornstarch and water—about two tablespoons of each; from there, add a teaspoon or two at a time. Start by whisking just two teaspoons of the slurry into the sauce, let it come to a boil, which will activate the starch, and then add more if needed.