It’s hard to find someone who’s not a fan of alfredo.
Perhaps that’s because it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like pasta, butter, and cheese; since that’s essentially all there is to alfredo, it’s a pretty universal crowd pleaser, but there’s more to this dish’s story than you might realize.
Whether you’re a purist who loves an authentic version, or you want to put your own spin on this beloved pasta, alfredo is undoubtedly one of the easiest Italiant favorites to make.
A Husband’s Desperation
Unlike many Italian dishes, Alfredo isn’t rooted in some long standing history. In fact, there’s nothing particularly traditional about it—Alfredo was born in 1914 when the wife of Roman restaurant owner Alfredo di Lelio was experiencing morning sickness.
If he’d been american, Alfredo might have offered his wife bread, or ginger ale. Since he was Italian, he made her a plain pasta dish in a bid to ease her nausea that consisted only of noodles, butter, and cheese. His wife loved the concoction so much that Alfredo put it on his menu, serving the simple white sauce over whatever pasta was fresh.
Eventually, a pair of Americans fell in love with the dish while on vacation in Rome and asked Alfredo for the recipe. After that, the restaurateur opened another location in New York, and Alfredo pasta became beloved in the United States.
What’s Not to Love?
It’s not hard to see why Alfredo’s wife, and the rest of the world, love his namesake pasta dish so much. It’s filling without being too heavy, indulgent without being gluttonous, and a delicious blank slate upon which you can pile basically anything.
Though Alfredo is often paired with fettuccine, it doesn’t have to be. Fettuccine happens to be one of the most popular noodle choices, but it’s not obligatory.
Easy as 1, 2, 3
One of the best things about Alfredo is how incredibly simple it is to make. As far as ingredients go, you’ll need: pasta, butter, milk, heavy cream, and parmesan. This recipe also calls for garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper, but you can use those at your own discretion.
To make the sauce, add the butter, milk, and cream to a skillet. Keep the heat high, until the mixture begins to boil. Next, turn the heat down and add the cheese and seasonings. Mix this all together until the sauce thickens.
Once that’s done, just add your pasta and garnish with whatever you’d like before serving.
Your Own Flavor
Because it’s such a simple recipe, there are many ways that you can modify Alfredo to fit your own needs, or to match what you’ve got in your refrigerator.
Don’t get too caught up on which type of pasta you use, for starters. You might love fettuccine, but give penne a try with this classic sauce too if you’re looking to switch things up.
One of the biggest ways that many people create their own versions of fettuccine is by adding a protein to the mixture. Chicken and shrimp are two of the most popular, as they work quite well in the creamy, cheesy sauce.
If you want to give things a little bit of pizzazz, try adding sun dried tomatoes to your sauce. You could also kick up the spiciness factor with red pepper, or make things more herbaceous by sprinkling in an Italian seasoning blend.
Think of Alfredo pasta as a basically blank canvas upon which you can create a flavorful masterpiece. Alfredo might not be the most traditional of the Italian pastas, but it’s certainly one of the most well known and the most delicious.