The “Fettuccine Alfredo” is a first course of the traditional cuisine of Rome, consisting of fettuccine seasoned with butter and parmesan. Nothing could be simpler, one would say. So why the worldwide success of this simple and frugal first course?
By melting the cheese (at least 60 g per person) on the butter, which is very creamy, an emulsion is created, that forms a very rich coating on the pasta. The result is a perfect mix of pasta and seasoning, which only the authentic recipe can give and which has made this dish famous all over the world.
The dish is named after Alfredo di Lelio, who first presented it in his restaurant in Rome around the mid 20th century. According to the stories of the family, in 1892 Alfredo di Lelio started working in a restaurant located in Piazza Rosa, run by his mother. Di Lelio invented the "Fettuccine Alfredo" in 1907 or 1908, in an attempt to entice his wife Ines to eat and regain her strength, after she had given birth to their first son, Armando. Alfredo added extra butter or "triple butter" to the fettuccine while mixing them just for her. Ines appreciated the dish so much that gave Alfredo the idea of putting it in the menu. Alfredo Di Lelio later opened his restaurant, Alfredo alla Scrofa, in 1914, in Via della Scrofa, in the center of Rome. The fame of Fettuccine Alfredo spread, first in Rome and then in many other countries.
In 1943, during the war, Di Lelio sold the restaurant to two of his waiters. Then, in 1950, with his son Armando, he opened a new restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore, called “Il Vero Alfredo,” now run by his niece, Ines Di Lelio. In this transfer, he did not forget to bring with him the famous "gold cutlery," which had been given to him in 1927 by the American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, as a sign of gratitude for the hospitality received in his restaurant.
The dish became very famous and eventually spread to the United States, where it still remains popular. In the United States, however, it is often served as a main dish, sometimes garnished with chicken or other ingredients. In Italy, in the meantime, fettuccine with butter is generally considered home cooking, unlike fettuccine Alfredo, which is a very "rich version" of the dish.
The dish was so well-known that Alfredo Di Lelio was invited to present it several times, and in 1967 a journalist said:
“The fettuccine are seasoned with plenty of butter and fresh Parmesan, so that, in an extraordinary theatrical rite, the owner mixes the pasta and lifts it up to serve it, the white strands of cheese golden with butter and the yellow bright egg pasta strips that offer an eye for the customer; at the end of the ceremony, the guest of honour is presented with the golden cutlery and the serving dish, where the fettuccine blondes roll in the pale gold of the seasonings. The whole ceremony is worth seeing. The owner, son of the old Alfredo and who looks exactly like him, ... leans over the large bundle of fettuccine, stares at it intently, his eyes half-closed and dives into mixing it, waving his golden cutlery with great gestures, like an orchestra conductor, with its swirling mustache turned upwards dancing up and down, the little fingers in the air, a rapt look, the elbows agitated… " (Wikipedia)
The recipe attributed to Alfredo includes only three ingredients: fettuccine, young Parmesan and butter. The secret of the goodness of this dish is therefore only in the right creaming. Enjoy the original Fettuccine Alfredo during your stay in Rome!!!
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