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A handful of ingredients transform into the most perfect, creamy, cheesy pasta

Staff, America's Test Kitchen on

Pasta with just butter and cheese might seem simple, but it actually has a fancy name when served in restaurants — fettuccine alfredo.

To make this dish at home, use authentic Parmesan cheese from Italy (look for the Italian words “Parmigiano-Reggiano” on the rind of the cheese). When the cheese, butter, and reserved pasta cooking water are stirred into the just-drained fettuccine, the dish will appear very watery. But don’t fret: After a covered 1-minute rest and a vigorous stir, everything will come together in a creamy sauce.

Best-Ever Pasta with Butter and Parmesan Cheese

Serves 1 to 2

2 quarts water

4 ounces fettuccine or other long-strand pasta


1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Pinch pepper (optional)


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