This is a gorgeous and quick pasta dish of 3 or 4 ingredients – so unusual in today’s current fashion of long ingredient lists. It is often also called Fettuccine Alfredo, although it’s original name was Fettuccine al Burro.
Traditionally this dish did not include cream – the sauce was an emulsion between butter and parmesan. However, the American version is made with cream, butter and cheese. Choose which ever version you prefer.
It is said that in the 1020’s Alfredo, a restaurateur, was trying to find a dish that his pregnant wife, who had lost her appetite, would eat. He added cheese to a simple pasta-and-butter dish and she loved it. When he introduced it to his restaurant it became popular around the world.
Fettuccini All’Alfredo | Fettuccini with Butter and Parmesan
350g fettuccine or tagliatelle
50g finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
Transfer 1 cup pasta cooking liquid to a large skillet. Bring to a gentle simmer, then whisk in butter, a piece at a time. Whisking constantly, gradually add cheese, making sure it’s melted and incorporated before adding more.
Add pasta and toss to coat, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce blankets noodles completely. Some finely chopped herbs can be added.
Serve topped with pepper and more cheese.
If using cream, melt the butter in a pan and add a cup of cream. Bring it just to a simmer and keep at that temp for a few minutes. Add the cheese little by little, whisking until its melted. Use pasta water to thin if required.
recipe notes and alternatives
Wicked alternatives are to add crushed or minced garlic and/or use gorgonzola, pecorino romano and parmesan cheeses. Add some parsley and walnuts too, should you desire.