"Real" Fettuccine Alfredo

According to Mario Batali, us americans have totally bastardized Fettuccine Alfredo...

On May 17, he was on the Today Show - at 8:39am to be exact - making what he calls the real, original version of fettuccine alfredo.  Live, on TV, with no 'so this is what it will look like in 10 minutes' or any of that - this whole thing could be made live on tv in real time, save for the prepping of ingredients and the boiling of water...

(incidentally, if i was a good kid, i would have already been out the front door on my way to work and would have missed this.  bonuses like this dont do much to discourage my bad-kid behaviour...)

Now, as someone who really, really likes that bastardized american version of fettuccine alfredo, i wasnt so sure what i thought of this - but both Jordan and I thought it was as least worth a shot...  as we always say, whats the worst? - we order Big Nicks...

We did decide that it might be better with some garlic - most things are - but aside from that, pretty much followed mario's recipe exactly (well, the one he did on the show - the written recipe leaves a step or two out...)


Serve it with a salad, crusty bread and a little white wine and you've got a perfect low on time/high on taste midweek meal...

"Real" Fettuccine Alfredo
courtesy of Mario Batali on the Today Show with minor modifications by us

1/2 pound fresh spinach fettuccine (boxed would be fine as well)
3.5 tablespoons (scant ½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound medium asparagus, tough ends snapped off (yields about 1/3 lb of usable asparagus)
¼ c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Using a mandoline (or other vegetable slicer, or a vegetable peeler), thinly shave the stalk of your asparagus into little discs.  Leave the 'trees' whole.

Bring 2-3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 1 tablespoons salt.

Cook the fettuccine in the boiling water, just slightly shorter than the package directions, as it will cook a little bit with the sauce. Drain, reserving about 1/8 cup of the pasta water, and set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the garlic and allow to sauté for a minute or so, then add the asparagus. Toss to coat & allow to cook a couple of minutes.

Add the reserved pasta water & stir to combine.

Add pasta to the saute pan & toss until the pasta is coated with the butter mix.

Allow to cook about 30 seconds, then add the cheese and toss well.

Once cheese has mostly melted in, remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper (to taste) and serve immediately.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The original method is much easier than the modified method, and more reliable than the method in this blog.

Why? Ideally, the noodles should be soft, not aldente. This is difficult to control if you rely on the heat of a sauce to complete their cooking.

Second, cheese melted in hot butter will tend to curdle and clump, requiring mixing and straining the "sauce". Finally, adding a hot butter/cheese sauce will will glaze and toughen the noodles' surface, and make the noodle interior soggy. This may be desirable in Kids macaroni, but not fettuccine.

Adding diced butter and grated cheese that are at room temp and gently stirring into hot noodles will quickly coat the noodles evenly and partially penetrate the noodle surface. Such a coating will not become gummy if the covered plate has to be held in a warming oven for a few minutes during staging.

If portions can be plated in the kitchen, the classic recipe may be further simplified by quickly draining the noodles through a colander, spraying the cooking pot with a vegetable oil or olive oil spray and returning the noodles to the same pot. The small amount of oil coating the pan prevents the cheese from sticking to i, making the pot easier to clean, and it avoids preheating and dirtying a mixing or serving bowl.

Seasonings such as finely minced garlic may be sauteed in the oil used to coat the pan.

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