Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Fettuccine Alfredo - What’s In a Name?

Somebody long before me said that; but I got to thinking about “Fettuccine Alfredo”. What it is it? Supposedly it was invented in the restaurant Alfredo alla Scrofa in the Via Alla Scrofa in Rome by the venerable Alfredo di Lelio himself. Actually, he simply amped up the amount of butter into the fettuccine and reportedly used very young parmesan cheese (in itself suspect because true Reggiano must be aged under consortium rules that go back 700 years, so how did he manage this?). Since butter was added before and after the pasta was tossed into a bowl and he add twice as much to begin with it became Fettuccine al Triplo Burro, Fettuccine with Triple Butter. The constant tossing of the butter, cheese and the fettuccine eventually make a sauce coated pasta to die for. And it goes without saying, the less you do to this ethereal dish, the better. The ingredients, though must be past the diamond test; brilliant, true, the best and the freshest, and it does not hurt to be a genius.

Nowadays, one finds basil in it; garlic (oh MY GOD), sea food, sun dried tomatoes. None of this will do. Some folks even make a thin béchamel so that the fettuccine can literally swim in what passes for “sauce”. All this is like painting Dali-like mustaches on the Mona Lisa in the name of “improving” it and making it more modern.

I make a killer version of the authentic vaunted dish and it is called, simply, fettuccine al burro. A medium dry red wine is all else you need and you can get a peek of heaven – a fork full at a time..

Ciao,
Carlo

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