It's National Fettuccine Alfredo Day...

I guess I should look ahead to the next few National Food Days before I publish my Make It Monday post. I just published a recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo yesterday and today I find out it is National Fettuccine Alfredo Day. D'oh!!

So, undaunted, I decided to delve into the history of this classic dish. And guess what I found out:

I have been making it wrong all these years! It turns out that the classic dish is not made with any cream.

Alfredo Di Lelio, was the creator of Fettuccine all’Alfredo in 1908 in a small family restaurant run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (this piazza no longer exists).

The story goes that his after his wife gave birth to their firstborn son, Armando, her health declined. Alfredo, concerned for her wellbeing, tried all sorts of healthy and nutritious recipes to nurse her back to health. One of these dishes was flat noodles mixed with butter and fresh Parmesan. As a good Catholic, to be sure he covered all bases, he also prayed to St. Anna, the patron saint of pregnant women. His wife Ines ate the dish with gusto and recovered, then suggested he add the dish to the family restaurant’s menu.
— grandvoyageitaly.com

Whoa...Dude! That is a shocker. Just pasta with butter and cheese?! Where did all the cream versions come from?

So...how would we make this correctly, as Alfredo would have done? Here is a recipe for the original version. I think I will try it this week.


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.

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

1 lb. dried fettuccine
1⁄2 lb. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1⁄2 lb. finely grated Parmesan (about 3 1⁄4 cup)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Sprinkle grated parmesan over the pasta and drizzle with 1⁄4 cup of the reserved pasta water.
  4. 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.)
  5. Serve the fettuccine immediately on warmed plates.
Michael Liss