Is Fettuccine Alfredo a ‘Real’ Italian Dish? Here’s What an Italian Cook Says

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“Alfredo’s granddaughter, who runs his restaurant in Rome, told me exactly how he made it,” Nadia explains in a voiceover, while a luscious plate of fettuccine gets topped with a spoonful of creamy, buttery sauce. Ready to get cooking? As Nadia explains, this dish really could not be simpler.

The pasta of choice is, of course, fettuccine — a semi-wide, flat noodle that’s perfect for silky sauces. After that, all you need is Parmesan cheese, butter, and pasta water. “You want the creaminess of mac and cheese,” Nadia explains as the video demonstrates the process. According to Nadia (and Alfredo’s granddaughter), the correct technique is to loosen cooked fettuccine with pasta water, or as I like to call it, liquid gold. After that, slowly add grated Parm and pats of butter as you stir, until all of the ingredients melt into a creamy, noodle-coating sauce. 

There is one American spin on this dish that is decidedly not authentic. In her caption, Nadia explains that despite the popularity of chicken Alfredo here in the States, there is no poultry in Alfredo’s original recipe. But with all that butter and cheese, who needs it, right?

So there you have it: Not only is fettuccine Alfredo a legit Italian specialty, Alfredo was a real guy! The next time you tuck in to a bowlful of the coziest pasta dish around, send a silent grazie to the man himself. Or better yet, travel to Italy and taste it yourself: According to Nadia, there are two restaurants in Rome that still serve the original fettuccine Alfredo.

Rochelle Bilow


Rochelle Bilow is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, the former social media manager at Bon Appétit Magazine and Cooking Light Magazine. She has also worked as a cook on a small farm in Central New York, and a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City. Connect with her @rochellebilow.

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