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~ Fabulous Fettuccine Alfredo a la Primavera-Style ~

6a0120a8551282970b01a3fceb1757970bIn Italian, fettuccine means "little ribbons" and fettuccine Alfredo is an Italian dish in which the ribbons are enrobed in a rich sauce usually made from butter, cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and black pepper.  A Roman restauranteur, Alfredo di Lelio first created this dish for his pregnant wife in 1914.  As the story goes, she had lost her appetite or was having trouble keeping food down, either while she was pregnant or after the birth of their son.  Alfredo, set out to create  a dish that would not only appeal to his wife, but would be nutritious as well. 

He developed his dish based on the traditional pasta al burro, which was simply paper-thin ribbons of hand-made pasta with butter.  Alfredo prepared his own egg fettuccine, tripled the amount of butter and laced it with copious amounts of Parmigianno-Reggiano cheese.  His wife loved it so much that she urged him to add it to his restaurant menu.  As fate would have it, in 1927, the American silent film stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, while honeymooning in Italy, stopped into di Lelio's Alfredo alla Scrofa restaurant, ate the dish and adored it.  They loved it so much, they presented him with a golden fork and spoon along with a picture of them eating in his restaurant.  When the famous newlyweds returned to Hollywood, they began serving fettuccine Alfredo at their dinner parties.  It didn't take long for the news to spread throughout Hollywood, making di Lelio's restaurant and his pasta dish world famous.

PICT0810 Di Lelio's original Alfredo, in traditional Italian style, was indeed a simple recipe, and he did not add cream, garlic, parsley or any other fancy ingredients to embellish or garnish it, except for freshly ground black pepper.  If you have the time to make your own egg fettuccine, I highly-recommend that you do, because that takes this recipe to a totally decadent level.  I have managed to keep my recipe very simple, but I do happen to prefer and love the flavor and creamy texture I get from using cream as opposed to all butter (and di Lelio added a LOT of butter).  Also, if the butter is not added correctly, which takes a bit of expertise, it tends to break down, making the dish greasy and unappetizing.   I do add some parsley for color and I do add some red pepper flakes for some heat.  Hey, I am forever grateful to Alfredo di Lelio for his recipe, but it's my blog and my family and friends have been loving my version for years.

PICT0841 "So", you ask, "what about the suspicious looking broccoli and carrots in the above picture?"  Well, here's the scoop:  I love to serve my fettuccine Alfredo as a side-dish to a succulent steak.  When I do that, I often add some blanched broccoli and carrots to the Alfredo.  Do you have to do this?  No.  Am I stepping over the Alfredo line by doing this?  A little.  Does this make my Alfredo a primavera?  Yes.  In Italian, primavera means "Spring" and culinarily, primavera just means that fresh vegetables (raw or blanched) are added to the dish during or at the end of its preparation.  Long story short, fettuccini Alfredo that has vegetables added to it is simply referred to as Alfredo primavera.

6a0120a8551282970b0148c82398d1970c16  ounces fettuccine pasta

6  ounces salted butter, cut into bite-sized pieces, at room temperature, the softer the better

3/4  teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

1/2  teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4  teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less, to taste (optional)

1  teaspoon sea salt

3/4  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

1 1/2  cups heavy or whipping cream, at room temperature

1  cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3/4  cup minced, fresh parsley, no stems included (do not substitute dried parsley flakes)

1/2  cup additional Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for topping

a sprinkling of additional red pepper flakes, for garnish

Fettuccine Alfredo #3 (Optional Raw Broccoli & Carrots) Step 1.  If you are planning to add the optional broccoli and carrots, you will need:  8  ounces small, fresh broccoli florets (about 3 cups), and, 8  ounces sliced, fresh carrots, (about 2 cups) 


Fettuccine Alfredo #4 (Blanching Vegetables for 3 Minutes)

In a 5-quart stockpot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat.  Add  1 tablespoon of salt.

Add the broccoli florets and the sliced carrots and once the water returns to a steady simmer, continue to cook for exactly 3 minutes.


Fettuccine Alfredo #5 (Blanched & Drained Vegetables) Immediately drain the vegetables into a colander and run very cold water over them, constantly, until they are cooled to below room temperature.  Set them aside, to drain thoroughly, while you prepare the fettuccine Alfredo.

Note:  Vegetables can be blanched and drained several hours and one day in advance of preparing the Alfredo.  Notice how blanching brings up the bright, fresh  colors?

Fettuccine Alfredo #6 (Cooking the Fettuccine) ~ Step 2.  In an 8-quart stockpot bring 5 quarts of water to a rolling boil.  Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, about 10-11 minutes.  Turn the heat off. 

Quickly but thoroughly drain the pasta into a colandar, then immediately return the hot pasta to the still hot stockpot and place the stockpot on the still hot stovetop.  Work quickly, not dangerously.

Fettuccine Alfredo #7 (Add Butter & Spices to Cooked Pasta) ~ Step 3.  Add the softened butter pieces,  Italian seasoning blend, nutmeg, red pepper flakes, sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.

Using two forks or two spoons, toss like you would a salad, until the butter is completely melted and the pasta is evenly coated in a flavorful butter and spice mixture.


Fettuccine Alfredo #9 (Add Cream, Parsley & Cheese) ~ Step 4.  Add the cream, grated cheese and minced parsley.  Again, using two forks or two spoons, toss as you would a salad, until the mixture is thoroughly combined.  If you are adding the optional vegetables, gently toss them into the mixture now.  Cover and let rest, about 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, to allow the pasta to absorb all of the cream mixture. Transfer a serving bowl or platter.

Top with a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and some red pepper flakes for garnish.  Serve immediately.

6a0120a8551282970b01a5119ac0a3970cFabulous Fettuccine Alfredo a la Primavera-Style:  Recipe yields 4 entree servings or 8 side-servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; cheese grater; 8-quart stockpot w/lid; colander; 5-quart stockpot (optional)

CPICT0866ook's Note:  While I never prepare this recipe a day in advance, leftovers do reheat really well in the microwave.  I have also doubled this recipe, using a 12-quart stockpot to cook the pasta in, and it worked perfectly.  One last thing, don't hesitate a bit to add some cooked and chopped chicken, or, cooked shrimp, scallops or lobster pieces into the mix to make this a hearty, family-style dinner.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011) 


Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio! What an honor to get such a wonderful comment on my humble cooking blog! Thank-you so much for sharing your family heritage and clarifying the history behind this most beloved dish. I shall now be able to share the real story with everyone in my food world! ~ Melanie

We have the pleasure to tell you the history of our grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, creator of “fettuccine all’Alfredo” (recipe in the world known).
Alfredo di Lelio opened the restaurant "Alfredo" in 1914 in a street in central Rome (Via della Scrofa), after leaving his first restaurant run by his mother Angelina in Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). In this local spread the fame, first to Rome and then in the world, of "fettuccine all'Alfredo".
In 1943, during the war, Di Lelio gave the local to his collaborators.
In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo” in Rome, Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30, which is now managed by his nephews Alfredo (same name of grandfather) and Ines (the same name of his grandmother, wife of Alfredo Di Lelio, who were dedicated to the noodles).
See also the site of “Il Vero Alfredo”
We must clarify that other restaurants "Alfredo" in Rome do not belong to the family tradition of "Il Vero Alfredo" in Rome.
We inform that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.

Best regards Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio

Domena! Thank-you for your lovely comment. Happy New Year to your and yours!

I am great fan of your blog.Every time i come here i see something very new.Thanks for sharing the information.

"Kitchen"! Nice to hear from you again! I'm really happy that you tried my recipe and I agree with you about the carrots... nice texture and lots of sweet flavor! Thanks again for another great comment!

This is very nice recipe. The pieces of carrots gives nice texture to it. Its delicious and testy recipe. I had tried it yesterday.

Thank you for this recipe.
But I am finding it hard to find the italian seasoning blend in my country. Where do you suggest I get them, or is there a good substitute?

Thank you "Yamaha"! So glad you enjoyed the Alfredo Primavera!!!

This was fantastic.Super easy and so tasty.I love this recipe.

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