Real Fettuccine Alfredo
So, in my continuing campaign to introduce Noah to “what that dish actually is” (we’ve already accomplished real Caesar salad dressing – not that awful gloppy stuff that passes for it) I made real Fettuccine Alfredo the other day.
If you go into any restaurant that claims to serve Fettuccine Alfredo, you will find pasta drenched in a sad, viscous white sauce. It even comes jarred in the supermarket. Shame, shame, shame.
Real Fettuccine Alfredo contains only three ingredients: fettuccine, butter and Parmesan cheese. It was invented in Italy in the early 1900s by a restauranteur named Alfredo di Lelio.
It’s just buttered noodles, you’re saying. How can anyone invent buttered noodles? But it’s the technique that makes the luxurious butter sauce that lovingly clings to the fettuccine. Basically, you take a ridiculous amount of butter (is there such a thing?) and put it in pats on a warm platter. Then you top it with the piping hot fettuccine and begin tossing. Toss, toss, toss. Along the way you add flutters of very finely grated Parmesan cheese and maybe a little pasta water. Toss, toss, toss. You keep going like that until the butter sauce coats every beautiful molecule of that fettuccine. And then you dig into one of the most sublimely simple yet hauntingly complex pasta dishes you’ve ever had.
As I said, I made it the other night. And I was immediately reminded why I don’t make this very often. It’s obscenely rich.
Obviously, I cannot claim to have an original recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo. This recipe is from Saveur magazine. And if you want a full recounting of the history behind the dish, Saveur did a nice job on that, too.
I’m doing this for all you generation X’s and Y’s who think you know what Caesar salad and Fettuccine Alfredo is – they’re nothing like the sad, convenient versions that have overpopulated chain restaurant menus everywhere. So what’s my next big reveal? Let’s see. Real strawberry shortcake? Real Hollandaise (no packets, ever)? How about real bleu cheese dressing? How come none of these are healthy?