Fettucini Alfredo: From the Cafes of Rome

Fettuccine Alfredo
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Ratings (8)
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 2.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1242 Calories
128g Fat
4g Carbs
22g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.


  • 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

Steps 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.

  3. 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.