Fettuccine Alfredo or "fettuccine all’Alfredo" is a dish made with fettuccine pasta combined with a sauce made from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and butter. The dish was named after Alfredo Di Lelio who opened a restaurant in Rome in 1914 and served “fettuccine all’Alfredo. Fettuccine Alfredo is an exaggerated variation of "pasta al burro" or pasta with butter--a dish that Italians understand better as something that would be cooked at home for simplicity and comfort. The dish became popularized in the United States and through commercialization the recipe has evolved to include heavy cream and other ingredients.
Alfredo Sauce (original version)
Servings: 4 (first course)
- 8 oz. or 2 sticks of butter, unsalted and softened to room temperature
- 1/2 pound Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (aged 24 months), grated
- 1 pound Fettuccine egg noodles
- whisk together the butter and grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese until it is creamy. Both ingredients combined should be on the thick side.
- Put water to boil in a large pot and prepare the noodles until al dente
- Drain the noodles and reserve 1/2 cup of liquid to emulsify your sauce
- Put noodles back in the warm pot and stir in the butter and cheese mixture with vigorous turning motion while adding pasta water until the noodles are glistening and smooth.
- Add salt to taste
Alfredo Sauce (American variation)
This recipe will make enough sauce for one pound of pasta, which, together, could serve 6 as a first course.
- 1¾ cups (400 ml) heavy cream
- 6 tbs. unsalted butter
- 8.5 ounces (240 grams) grated Parmesan cheese or asiago cheese
- 1 tsp. salt
- fresh-ground black pepper
- pinch of fresh-ground nutmeg
- Combine 1¼ cups (300 ml) cream and the butter in a pan large enough to accommodate the sauce and later the pound of pasta.
- Heat over a low flame, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted and the cream comes to a bare simmer.
- Remove the pan from the heat once the butter is evenly incorporated into the cream.
- Cook the pasta, draining it a little before it reaches the al dente stage. The pasta should be slightly undercooked before being added to the sauce because it will continue to cook while the sauce is being finished.
- Drain the pasta.
- Add the drained pasta, ½ cup (100 ml) of cream, the cheese, the salt, the nutmeg, and several grinds of the pepper mill to the pan
- Heat the pasta and sauce over a low flame, tossing continuously, until the cheese melts into the sauce and the sauce thickens slightly, about one to two minutes. You can add chopped parsley as a garnish mixed into the sauce.
- Alfredo Di Lelio, for whom the dish is named, was a Roman innkeeper. Between the 1910s and the 1950s he owned a popular restaurant named Alfredo all'Augusteo in Piazza Augusto Imperatore in the center of the city. The restaurant, now called "Il Vero Alfredo - Alfredo di Roma", is run by the granddaughter of Alfredo Di Lelio, Ines Di Lelio.
- The original name of the dish, created in 1914, was Fettuccine al triplo burro (Fettuccine with triple butter).
- Fettuccine is the traditional pasta for Alfredo and its variations because the broad noodles provide just the right platform for the butter fat and cheese.
- Fresh egg pasta is greatly preferred by some over dried pasta for cream and cheese sauces because the sauce sometimes clings more readily to fresh pasta than it does to dried.