Original Alfredo Recipe

Original Alfredo

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  • 1 lb. pasta (fettuccine, if you're feeling extra classic)
  • 1/2 pound parmigiano-reggiano, finely grated
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of reserved pasta water

How to make Original Alfredo

This is an approximation of the original Fettuccine Alfredo as invented by Afredo di Lelio at the turn of the century, a double-butter rendition of the classic fettuccine al burro, created in order to rejuvenate his wife's failing appetite after she gave birth. Or so the story goes.

Although it contains no cream, this dish is extremely rich, so I recommend eating it as a side dish for lots of people or broken up with something like grilled chicken and vegetables. It was, however, delicious plain.

First boil the pasta in salted water until al dente.
Drain and reserve 3/4-1 cup pasta water for the sauce.
Bring butter and pasta water to a boil in a saucepan or large skillet. Add pasta, coat with butter mixture and sprinkle in cheese. Toss with forks or tongs until the mixture of cheese, butter and water forms a velvety sauce. Eat hot and enjoy.

Question from the Chef

“Any dishes you made as historical experiments?”

  • theory
    theory says

    I love these simple recipes with a lot of history. I'm definitely going to make this. I'd probably have this as a very small serving pasta course before a main meal.

  • mickeykitterman
    mickeykitterman says

    I agree with you-most Alfredo sauces are way too creamy

  • kimdec
    kimdec says

    Yes! Sourdough. The "starter" was given to me by a friend, and I made my own with it. It's been handed down from generation to generation! The older, the better. But there are so many tricks to keeping it from spoiling.

  • Trisk
    Trisk says

    Almost there but way too much butter.

  • muttoneer
    muttoneer says

    I agree that it's very rich (and too much so for my everyday enjoyment), but I offered this primarily for it's interesting history. Halve the butter and you get Fettucine al Burro, rather than the Alfredo enjoyed so greatly by Americans visiting Europe. Al Burro is still very popular today.

  • eatfoodrecipe
    eatfoodrecipe says

    too much butter? hmmm...think its fine..

  • Caduceus
    Caduceus says

    "Too much butter" is an oxymoron. Excellent recipe, thank you.

  • Phrosty
    Phrosty says

    I found this recipe to be outstanding, especially in its simplicity; I didn't think there was too much butter at all. Plus I loved the little history lesson.

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