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National Fettuccine Alfredo Day
February 7, 2017
National Fettuccine Alfredo Day #FettuccineAlfredoDay
Did you know that this dish isn’t popular in Italy, where it was invented, but adored in the USA?
Once upon a time (1914), an Italian restaurateur’s wife had a baby. She felt so sick afterwards, that she couldn’t really eat anything. To work up her appetite, he cooked her a plate of pasta, butter and cheese. She thought the dish was so good that she suggested he add it to the menu at his small restaurant in Rome. The restaurateur’s name was Alfredo di Lelio. Not only was his first son born that year, but so was the masterpiece we now call “Fettuccine Alfredo.”
Fettuccine Alfredo is a pasta dish made from fettuccine tossed with Parmesan cheese and butter. As the cheese melts, it emulsifies the liquids to form a smooth and rich coating on the pasta. In other words, it is pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese, one of the oldest and simplest ways to prepare pasta. Alfredo Di Lelio gave it this name at his restaurants in Rome, in the early to mid 20th century. Fettuccine with butter and Parmesan cheese was first mentioned in the 15th-century cookbook, Libro de arte coquinaria, written by Martino da Como, a northern Italian cook active in Rome. Alfredo Di Lelio invented the “fettuccine al triplo burro” (later named “fettuccine all’Alfredo” or “fettuccine Alfredo”) in 1892 in a restaurant run by his mother Angelina in piazza Rosa in Rome (the Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna/Sordi). Alfredo di Lelio later opened his own restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 on the via della Scrofa in central Rome.
Di Lelio didn’t sell his dish to customers for years, because it was so rich. Anyway early movie stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford fell in love with this dish while on their honeymoon in Rome in 1927. They brought the recipe to the USA and made the dish and Alfredo world famous.