How to make tomato sauce
22 February 2021
How to make Pesto
4 March 2021

How to make Fettuccine Alfredo - Original Italian Recipe

We know what that at least 85% of you are now thinking. “ Wait! Isn’t Fettuccine Alfredo an American invention”? No. Most definitely not. Fettuccine Alfredo was invented in the most romantic way possible by a chef called (you guessed it) – Alfredo, for his wife, in Rome.


Alfredo, who was 100% Roman from Trastevere, opened a restaurant in 1908, a small hole-in-the-wall with no name on a small piazza near the Trevi fountain. While he worked hard making a go of the restaurant his wife, Inès, was leading a typically stressed out life which involved having babies.
Her loss of appetite and her general lack of energy lead her husband to prepare a special dish for her that would be not only irresistibly delicious, but also full of nourishing calories. The heaping plate of eggy noodles tossed with massive amounts of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and butter was so delicious that his wife not only gobbled it up, but convinced him to start serving it in the trattoria as well. And that is how Fettuccine Alfredo – (along with Alfredo and Ines’s babies)- was born.
While many locals, as well as tourists, visited the restaurant to try this famous dish, it was Douglass Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, visiting Rome on their honeymoon in 1927, who lead the avalanche of movie stars and other famous folk, whose photos now line the walls of the restaurant. So enamored were Fairbanks and Pickford with Alfredo’s pasta skills that at the end of their week in Rome they presented him with a special gift: an inscribed solid gold spoon and fork to use to flip the noodles in the style they so deserved.
While this is the story of Fettuccine Alfredo in Rome, it totally ignores the misuse of the word” Alfredo” in the rest of the world. Here are some things to know when talking about


• No, Fettuccine Alfredo is not American. (as I’ve just explained)
• Fettuccine Alfredo has just three ingredients: pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano and butter.
• No, Fettuccine Alfredo does not have cream in it. Nor any other extraneous ingredients like peas or ham or god forbid chicken. And don’t get me started on garlic.
• ‘Alfredo’ is not a sauce you can buy in a jar or a flavoring you can add to just about anything. The magic happens when all the ingredients come together in a happy marriage on a plate together with the pasta.
With all this talk lately about #fakenews and #alternativefacts I can’t think of any other pasta dish that has suffered from so much lack of real investigative reporting. I’m pretty sure #fakepasta should be a thing. Somehow, over the years, the word ‘Alfredo’ has been applied to a type of generically creamy and cheesy sauce. It couldn’t have gotten further from the original purity and simplicity of the dish if it tried.


• Freshly made fettuccine/tagliatelle (CLICK HERE FOR RECIPE)
• Unsalted butter, at room temperature
• Hand grated Parmigiano Reggiano


In theory it’s for one portion. But it’s a really large portion.
• 200 grams / 7 ounces of fresh fettuccine
• 1 stick / 125 grams unsalted butter
• 3/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano


Butter: Since the butter is going to be one of the main ingredients, this has to be the best you can get. The sweeter, the better.
Cheese: Absolutely must be Parmigiano Reggiano. It is not a good idea to substitute Parmigiano Reggiano with another type of hard cheese. You could, but it wouldn’t taste at all like it’s supposed to. And the Parmigiano Reggiano must not be too young, nor too old. 16 to 18 months is the perfect age which will result in both the correct flavor as well as being able to melt into the creamy consistency that is essential.


Start off with a fresh pot of boiling water. The water should be a bit under-salted than usual, because so much cheese is added to the finished dish.
The plate must be hot hot hot.
The butter, which sits in a bowl of room temperature water, is given a good squeeze first, by the chef with his fist.
The parmigiano must be grated by hand, not in a machine. A machine would heat the cheese too much, which would affect the final dish. In other words, try to reach a very very finely grated.
And finally the mixing: The dish is prepared in the kitchen, then finished in the dining room. The ingredients are layered in the following order:
1. plate
2. butter
3. pasta
4. pasta cooking water
5. and finally grated cheese
Over the course of 2 minutes you must stir, twirl and lift the pasta up, scraping the sides of the dish and turning it around and around to blend the pasta, pasta water and its starches, the cheese and the butter until it all emulsifies into a rich and creamy sauce.
For such a seemingly simple dish, there is a lot of technique. But isn’t that always the way? That’s why we made a video. Enjoy!