When making Alfredo, you must have three things: fresh Parmesan, fresh garlic, and taste buds. You need fresh Parmesan and fresh garlic because it’s Alfredo sauce. To make it with anything less than fresh is to do the sauce a disservice. The cookbook The Husband and I use for the basic recipe calls for powdered Parmesan. We tried it once, hated ourselves, and never did it again. Powdered Parmesan tastes like the preservatives in it. Parmesan bought by the block has a smoky aftertaste and a richness you won’t get from powder.
It’s the same with fresh garlic. If you can’t mince [as I can’t], get a garlic press. They tend to run about $7-$10 at your local grocer, and it’s a handy little tool. Yes, it is one of those ridiculous kitchen gadgets that is really only good for one thing, but the one thing its good for is fantastic if you like garlic to any degree. And never, ever forget the difference between a head of garlic [the entire chunk of garlic you buy], and a clove of garlic [the pieces that break off the head]. The Husband and I managed to throw together an Alfredo so garlicky, the smell didn’t dissipate for two days, all because we couldn’t remember the difference between the head and the clove.
I digress; back to my original point: If you want to cook like you mean it, cook with fresh ingredients, and if you want to make Alfredo sauce, you must use fresh Parmesan and garlic. Anything else is sacrilege.