Fettuccine Alfredo is an American Italian pasta dish made with fettuccine, butter and Parmesan cheese. The cooked fettuccine pasta is tossed with butter and grated cheese, and the cheese melts during tossing to form a creamy coating on the pasta. The dish was given its name by an Italian restaurateur who served it in his restaurant named Alfredo in Rome, to American tourists. It is now a popular dish in America, where additional meat or vegetable ingredients are often added to it, while in Italy it is simply known as fettuccine.
Pasta tossed with butter and cheese is not a new dish for Italians. Fettuccine al burro was already quite popular amongst the Roman tourists. Alfredo di Lelio, who owned a restaurant called Alfredo here, further enhanced the dish by doubling the amount of butter that was added to the bowl before the fettuccine was put in it. Butter was added both before and after adding fettucine to the serving bowl, and was called dupio burro. This doubling of the butter by Alfredo made it triplo burro or triple butter. It is said that Alfredo had initially made the dish for his pregnant wife, who was having difficulty in taking in food. Later, when his wife began eating with ease, he introduced the dish in his restaurant. The dish is said to have gained popularity in 1927 when Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford visited the place for their honeymoon and loved the dish. The Alfredo restaurant was sold by Alfredo di Lelio in 1943, but the owners since have retained the name and expanded operations. A new Alfredo's was opened in New York City in 1977. Fettuccine Alfredo also grew in popularity so much that it is now on the menu of all Italian style restaurants in America.
Ingredients and Preparation
Fettuccine, unsalted butter, grated Parmesan cheese and black pepper are the basic ingredients suggested by the fettuccine alfredo recipe.
To prepare the dish, unsalted butter is melted in a pan. Fettuccine is cooked in boiling salted water till al dente, and then drained. Butter is melted in a saucepan, and the Fettuccine is lifted from the boiling water with the help of tongs and mixed with the butter over low heat. Half the grated cheese is then mixed into this pasta, and when it has incorporated in the pasta by swirling and tossing, the rest of the cheese is added and the same actions are repeated. Some more pasta cooking water may be added in if the dish is too dry. The dish is seasoned with black pepper before serving.
A creamy version of the dish can be prepared by adding cream to the melting butter at the initial stage of preparation.
Fettuccine Alfredo is served hot, for the first course or primo.
Fettuccine Alfredo is prepared in the form of variations to the basic dish as well.
- Often lower costing cheeses, or American imitation of Parmesan cheese may be used, or cream may be used with butter.
- A thickener may be used with the cheese, which may be flour or roux made with olive oil, liquid butter and flour.
- Romano and Asiago are other cheeses that are sometimes used for flavor. Other forms of pasta may also be used.
- Vegetables like broccoli or peas are used to make it a one-dish meal, while meats like chicken or shrimp are also popular additions. Garlic and parsley may be used for flavor.