The legend says this recipe was created by Alfredo Di Lelio in his restaurant in Rome and today there are 2 restaurants in Rome claiming the authorship of the fettuccine: Alfredo alla Scrofa and Il Vero Alfredo all’Augusteo. Apparently, Alfredo (the man behind the fettuccine) made this dish for his sick wife but it turned out to be very much loved by the Americans because of the rich cream.
They were in fact made by seasoning the fettuccine (homemade flat thick noodle made of egg and flour, typical of Roman and Tuscan cuisine) 2 or 3 times with butter and parmesan to make a very rich cream.
They were served to guests coming mostly from the US. Some of these guests were so famous that they started to talk about this pasta helping in the creation of one of the bigger misunderstanding about Italian food.
In Italy, in fact, it is actually allowed to season your pasta with Parmesan and butter but only if you’re sick in bed and your mum wants help in recovering. You will never find people asking for fettuccine Alfredo in Rome or Italy and if you do, you will probably be teased by everyone in the restaurant.
Mixing the ingredients on a warmed platter will help them melt quickly to make a satiny sauce.
For the best results, use dried pasta, which doesn’t break as easily during tossing as fresh egg pasta does.
- 1 lb. dried fettuccine
- 1⁄2 lb. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1⁄2 lb. finely grated parmesan (about 3 1⁄4 cup)
- Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut butter into thin pats and transfer to a large, warmed platter. Drain pasta, reserving 3⁄4 cup pasta water, and place the pasta over the butter on the platter.
- Sprinkle grated parmesan over the pasta and drizzle with 1⁄4 cup of the reserved pasta water.
- Using a large spoon and fork, gently toss the pasta with the butter and cheese, lifting and swirling the noodles and adding more pasta water as necessary. (The pasta water will help create a smooth sauce.) Work in any melted butter and cheese that pools around the edges of the platter. Continue to mix the pasta until the cheese and butter have fully melted and the noodles are coated, about 3 minutes. (For a quicker preparation, bring the reserved 3⁄4 cup pasta water and the butter to a boil in a 12″ skillet; then add the pasta, sprinkle with the cheese, and toss with tongs over medium-low heat until the pasta is creamy and coated, about 2 minutes.)
- Serve the fettuccine immediately on warmed plates.