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