Admittedly, I do mine a little differently, though. In my original recipe (y’all be gentle clicking over there – that was a long time ago and some of those pictures are rough!), I’ve always added sautéed peppers, onions, and garlic to the mix to amp up the flavor in a major way. And it works beautifully!
This recipe takes that classic recipe to the next level. I swap out the homemade sauce for a jarred sauce to make this busy-weeknight-approved. (But you probably won’t be able to tell the difference!) And then I bake the whole thing with Italian cheese on the top until it we reach alfredo nirvana. Seriously, y’all. This stuff is amazing.
One thing you might find different about this recipe is the use of the pasta water. So here’s the thing, when you boil pasta, a lot of the starch in the pasta works its way out into the water – making that pasta water a delicious, rich thickening agent. Adding the pasta water to the sauce (which is actually something that happens quite a bit in Italian cooking) makes for a smooth, silky sauce that goes a little farther too. Think I’m crazy? True, it might be a little hard to see it work its magic in this dish, but add a little pasta water to your spaghetti sauce next time and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Ultimate Baked Alfredo
- 1 (16-ounce) package fettuccine pasta
- 1.5 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15-ounce) jar alfredo sauce
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- 1 cup Italian blend shredded cheese
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, per the package instructions. Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Season the chicken with the salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it is no longer pink, allowing some to brown a bit. It doesn't need to be cooked completely through. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken to a bowl. Cover and set aside.
- Add a small amount of additional oil if necessary, then add the onions and peppers to the skillet. Cook over medium heat until soft - about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan and mix well. Set aside.
- In the large pot that you cooked the pasta in, add the alfredo sauce, cream cheese, and the reserved pasta water. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the cream cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Add the pasta, chicken, and vegetables to the pot and mix well to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle wtih the Italian blend cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.