Fettuccine Alfredo (Roma.         Jan 2018

Last March we were in Rome for a family birthday. We were only there for a long weekend but we were determined to enjoy a few restaurants during our stay.

While walking around on one of the many shopping trips my wife squeezed around the birthday party, we came across Alfedo’s Restaurant.

We bundled in off the street hoping to be able to grab a bite of dinner but when we got though the door we could see the place was full. We asked a waiter if there was any chance of a table but we were politely sent on our way.

However when in the restaurant one could not help but notice the high quality décor and the walls covered from top to bottom in photos of the rich, famous and powerful. 

It was then we realised we had stumbled on “The Alfredo’s”, the place where Fettuccine Alfredo was invented. (no, it was not invented in the US). We booked a table for the following night, and I went back to the hotel to do some research.

Apparently Fettuccine Alfredo was invented by a chef called (you guessed it) Alfredo, in 1908 for his wife, who was unwell.

His wife loved the dish and convinced him to start serving it in their trattoria. And that is how Fettuccine Alfredo was born.

While many locals and tourists, visited the restaurant to try this famous dish, it was Douglass Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, visiting Rome on their honeymoon, who would lead to the deluge of movie stars and entertainers whose photos now line the walls of the restaurant. And so in love were they with Alfredo’s pasta that at the end of their week they presented him with an inscribed solid gold spoon and fork to use to flip the Fettuccine in real Hollywood style.

In 1943 Alfredo decided he should retire But after a few years he decided leisure was not his thing, and, in 1950, opened a new restaurant in Piazza Agusto Imperatore. Located beneath the arches of the 1930s-designed piazza, this is where his family, continue to this day to use his engraved golden fork and spoon.

Alfredo’s famous fettuccine has only three ingredients:

Fresh fettuccine, Unsalted butter at room temperature and Parmigiano Reggiano grated by hand.

For two servings (it is quite rich)

  • 200g of fresh fettuccine
  • 125g unsalted butter (the best and whitest you can find)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Butter: This has to be the best you can get. They would not tell me the brand of butter they use but it is almost white and unsalted.

Cheese: Parmigiano Reggiano. Nothing else will do. 

How to make it:

Boil some freshwater. The water needs to be a little under-salted, as so much salty cheese is added to the finished dish.

The serving plate must be very hot. At Alfredo’s the serving dish is heated in a pot of simmering water. (this is the plate you mix the pasta,  cheese, butter and cooking water on)

The butter, which is at room temperature.

The hand grated parmigiano is a must 

The ingredients are layered in the following order:

1.    Plate (heat the plate in boiling water)

2.    butter (the butter is placed on the hot plate)

3.    pasta (the cooked pasta is placed on the butter)

4.    Pasta cooking water (a cup to dampen the pasta half a cup at a time you can always ad a little more)

5.    And finally grated cheese (all over everything)

This is when the magic happens. 

Over the course of 2 minutes you stir, twist, and raise the pasta up, scraping the sides of the dish and turning it this way and that to blend the pasta, pasta water, the cheese and the butter until it all emulsifies into a rich and creamy sauce that clings to each and every strand of pasta. 

No cream should ever be used.

This is a great pasta but when in Rome… try the real thing go to Alfredos in Rome the website is:

It is just delicious, amazingly simple yet one of the best pastas I have ever eaten. But beware it is very rich so a little goes a long way.

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