How to Make the Christmas Fettuccine from ‘The Holiday’

Celebrate the season like characters in 'The Holiday' with a bowl of Christmas Fettuccine!

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

The Holiday is a romantic comedy from iconic writer and director Nancy Meyers. It’s about two women on opposite sides of the globe who swap houses at Christmas. Throughout the course of their holiday vacations, they both discover that a change of address (and a bowl of fettuccine) can change their lives.

In one pivotal scene on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, Iris (played by Kate Winslet) and Miles (played by Jack Black) find themselves depressed and bemoaning their relationship woes. The two of them bond over falling for the wrong person. After a bit of wallowing, Iris says, “So how about some food… Shall I make us a little Christmas fettuccine?”

What better way to lift your spirits than with a big bowl of pasta!

What Is Christmas Fettuccine?

While the exact recipe isn’t shown in the movie, I imagined how Iris might have made it that Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. Instead of doing a classic Alfredo sauce, I wanted to play around a little bit. We know Iris opened a bottle of vodka since she offered Miles a glass to drown his sorrows. So, I figured a take on a vodka sauce might be fun.

I added some garlic and lemon for added interest, plus freshly grated Parmesan cheese for richness. The result is a dish with all the best elements of fettuccine Alfredo, vodka sauce and lemon-garlic scampi sauce all in one indulgent holiday dish.

The moral of the story is this: When life gives you lemons, make Christmas fettuccine! And serve it with a glass of crisp champagne.

Is Fettuccine a Christmas Eve Tradition?

In Italy, Christmas Eve is often a day when no meat is eaten. So a pasta dish such as fettuccine is a traditional option. In southern Italy seafood dishes are on the menu as part of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. This Christmas fettuccine would be great with the addition of some sauteed shrimp as well.

In my family, Christmas Eve was always so busy and hectic, it was hard to find the time to prepare and sit down to a big, fancy meal. (We saved that for Christmas Day!) So we often had something easy and indulgent like a creamy pasta dish. If you’re busy but want a festive meal, I recommend making fettuccine a Christmas Eve tradition in your house.

How to Make Christmas Fettuccine

small bowls with measured out ingredients for Christmas fettuccineKristina Vänni for Taste of Home


  • 1 (16 ounce) box fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water


Step 1: Cook pasta

cooked pasta in a pot on a marble counterKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving at least 1/4 cup of the pasta water. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.

Step 2: Make the sauce

make Alfredo in a pot with a whiskKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter. Add the garlic and flour and whisk into a paste. Stir until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Slowly add the half-and-half, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking to incorporate after each addition. Whisk in the vodka and lemon juice and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper. Stir to melt the cheese and combine.

Step 3: Combine sauce and pasta

fettuccine in a pot on a marble counterKristina Vänni for Taste of Home

Add the cooked fettuccine to the pan and toss with the sauce. Slowly add some of the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce to the desired consistency, up to 1/4 cup. Serve the pasta with additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese and twists of freshly ground black pepper, as desired.

Where to Watch ‘The Holiday’

If you have TBS or TNT, The Holiday seems to air on repeat frequently throughout the season. You can also watch it on demand or through their app streaming services. The movie can also be purchased or rented through Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video and iTunes.

Kristina Vänni
Internationally recognized culinary authority Kristina Vänni is a well-known food writer, engaging TV host, award-winning recipe developer, and food stylist. In addition to writing for industry-leading food publications, she is a frequent featured expert on national media outlets and has served as a spokesperson and recipe developer for numerous national brands. Kristina is currently writing her first cookbook, an exploration of the traditional and seasonal cuisine from her family's dairy farm in Finland.