Fettucini Alfredo: From the Cafes of Rome

Fettuccine Alfredo
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  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2.
Ratings (6)

According to my research, the original dish that came to be named Fettucini Alfredo was called ​fettuccine al burro and consisted of fettucini tossed with butter and cheese and then a second helping of butter. Roman restaurateur Alfredo di Lelio who tripled the butter to great fame – when was more butter ever a bad thing? Today the dish usually involves less butter and some heavy cream – which is a bit healthier and results in sauce with a more appealing feel to the mouth.

What You'll Need

  • 8 ounces egg fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano plus more for garnish

How to Make It

  1. Cook fettuccine in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (see my article on reduced water pasta) reserving 1/3 cup cooking water, then drain pasta.
  2. While pasta cooks, bring cream and butter to a simmer in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat with salt and pepper. Add fettuccine and 3 tablespoons of reserved water, and cheese to sauce and toss. Add a touch more cooking water if sauce seems too thick to you.
  1. Serve garnished with chopped parsley and additional cheese on the side.


This is a supremely simple dish and every ingredient counts. Use the best fettucini you can find – or make your own (which makes the dish transcendental). Use heavy cream and real butter because anything else will be disappointing – if you want something low-fat, choose another dish. Genuine imported Parmigiano-Reggiano is required – splurge.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 1242
Total Fat 128 g
Saturated Fat 77 g
Unsaturated Fat 37 g
Cholesterol 745 mg
Sodium 601 mg
Carbohydrates 4 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Protein 22 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)