Ok. There are few lessons buried in this recipe, which is probably the most common and the most bastardized of all pasta dishes in America. First, despite the Italian Facebook page dedicated to the non-existence of Fettuccine Alfredo in Italy, I’ve eaten it there at Alfredo, on Piazza Augusto Imperatore, in Rome. And it was good. That said, “which came first the tourists or the Fettuccine Alfredo?” is a fair question.
The lesson here is that Italy is a land of 1,000 villages, so unless you’re from one specifically, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction in the other towns.
Second, in Rome, what is called Fettuccine Alfredo is also called Fettuccine Triplo Burro (triple butter), and it is far better than the Americanized version, in which cream is added. (Why Italian American restaurants add cream to everything from carbonara to pesto is beyond me.)
And finally, the most important lesson: Italians aren’t fat, even though they may eat the following bowl of butter and cheese, because they would not eat a lot of it. So take heed, and enjoy a small portion (accompanied by a glass of wine and followed by some greens).
Cook Fettuccine in a large quantity of lightly salted water. Meanwhile, cut butter into small pieces and place into a large, warm serving bowl. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain it and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add some of the reserved water to the butter, and then add the fettuccine, mixing with the butter. Add the Parmigiano and continue to mix until creamy. Add some fresh black pepper and serve immediately.
Ed Garrubbo, Editor.