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Fettuccine Alfredo, an Italian dish that has conquered America

Fettuccine Alfredo

Born in Rome, fettuccine Alfredo found success mostly in the United States. What is the original recipe for the dish?

At least for this time we must acknowledge that one of the most famous dishes in America, passed off as Italian, really is. Fettuccine Alfredo, later mangled into fettuccini Alfredo, originated in Rome in the early 1900s as a dish of egg pasta rolled very thin and served with a sauce based on butter and parmesan .

For the record, we would like to point out that the official year of birth is 1908 . They were prepared for the first time by Alfredo di Lelio, owner and chef of the Alfredo restaurant in via della Scrofa in Rome, at the request of his wife. In fact, after giving birth, the woman wanted a light but nutritious dish, capable of restoring her strength. Thus, from the union of egg pasta , rolled out thinner for the occasion, and butter and parmesan, fettuccine Alfredo is born.

In Italy there are very few people who prepare them now. The last bastion is the two Roman restaurants, Alfredo di Via della Scrofa and Il Vero Alfredo . But it was the Americans who dined in these places over the years who brought the recipe to the United States. Rockefeller, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Audrey Hepburn are just some of these but be careful: real fettuccine Alfredo is without cream! Be wary of imitations because as often happens, this time too the Americans have put their own spin on it by adding onion or garlic, parsley, creamy cheeses and cream.

Fettuccine Alfredo
Fettuccine Alfredo

How to prepare fettuccine Alfredo with the original recipe

  1. To prepare Alfredo pasta, first make the egg pasta . Make a well in the flour , also in a bowl, and break the eggs in the centre.
  2. Knead first with a fork, incorporating flour little at a time, then continue by hand.
  3. Work the dough vigorously until it forms a smooth and homogeneous dough.
  4. Leave it to rest for 30 minutes under an upside down bowl.
  5. Then divide it into four parts, cutting it with a knife or a tarot knife, and start rolling out with the pasta machine , one shot at a time until the last one (or as long as you can without breaking the dough). They must be very thin .
  6. As the sheets are ready, place them on a floured work surface and sprinkle them with semolina .
  7. Let them air dry for a few minutes then roll them up along the short side and cut into rounds about 4 mm thick .
  8. Bring the water to the boil, add salt and boil the fettuccine for a maximum of one minute.
  9. In the meantime, prepare a large bowl with half the quantity of butter .
  10. Once the tagliatelle are ready, drain them by holding them with a fork and transfer them to the bowl.
  11. Cover them with the parmesan and begin to stir, only moving the bowl to prevent the pasta from breaking. Gradually add the remaining butter and if necessary a few spoonfuls of cooking water to obtain a cream.

Complete to taste with freshly ground black pepper , the only extra ingredient allowed by the original fettuccine Alfredo recipe. Do you prefer something simpler and more traditional? Throw yourself into the classic butter pasta : a classic that does not disappoint.


Fettuccine Alfredo should be eaten freshly made , still hot and steaming. However, you can take advantage of the preparation of the pasta by keeping it for a few hours under a clean cloth or in the refrigerator, always covered, for a couple of days.

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