Fettuccine Alfredo: easy recipe and history

Author: Veruska Anconitano, Award-Winning Food Travel Journalist, Sommelier & Outdoor LoverAuthor information
About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a a food travel journalist with awards to her credit, such as World Best Food Travel Journalist. She holds a certification as a sommelier and she is also an ardent lover of the outdoors. Aside from this, Veruska is a Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant and co-owns multiple websites that cater to a global audience.
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When it comes to Italian food, there are a lot of misconceptions and some of the dishes you can find outside of Italy are not Italian at all. One of that is the so-called Fettuccine Alfredo, which are so famous outside of Italy but Italians do not eat at all. They should be called fettuccine but they’re often called “fettuccini” for I don’t know what strange reason.

The history behind the Fettuccine Alfredo

The legend says this recipe was created by Alfredo Di Lelio in his restaurant in Rome and today there are 2 restaurants in Rome claiming the authorship of the fettuccine: Alfredo alla Scrofa and Il Vero Alfredo all’Augusteo. Apparently, Alfredo (the man behind the fettuccine) made this dish for his sick wife but it turned out to be very much loved by the Americans because of the rich cream.

They were in fact made by seasoning the fettuccine (homemade flat thick noodle made of egg and flour, typical of Roman and Tuscan cuisine) 2 or 3 times with butter and parmesan to make a very rich cream.

They were served to guests coming mostly from the US. Some of these guests were so famous that they started to talk about this pasta helping in the creation of one of the bigger misunderstanding about Italian food.

Fettuccine Alfredo in Italy

In Italy, in fact, it is actually allowed to season your pasta with Parmesan and butter but only if you’re sick in bed and your mum wants help in recovering. You will never find people asking for fettuccine Alfredo in Rome or Italy and if you do, you will probably be teased by everyone in the restaurant.

I know non Italian people, especially Americans, love fettuccine Alfredo so I’ve tried to find the best recipe with a condition: make it at your place, do not go to Rome and ask for this dish because you won’t get a bit of it (have a look at what you should eat instead if in Rome. Click here).

Alfredo fettuccine

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1/2 pound dry fettuccine pasta
  • 3-4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper (optional)


  1. Cook your fettuccine in salty water.
  2. When cooked, transfer the fettuccine in a glass bowl using tongs taking care not to drain them too much. Keep aside the cooking water.
  3. Add half the butter and half the Parmesan and start mixing.
  4. Repeat step 3 until both the butter and the Parmesan cheese are finished (to create the cream use more cooking water if needed).
  5. Serve adding a knob of butter and mixing then, to taste, add black pepper (optional).


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Note: black pepper is not needed but if you want to give your fettuccine Alfredo a kick then just sprinkle some black pepper onto every plate.

fettuccine alfredo

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