Roman-Style Fettuccine With Alfredo Sauce Recipe

[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

This is how you make fettuccine Alfredo like the Romans. It’s an incredibly simple and quick dish with only a few key ingredients: pasta, butter, and cheese. The result is a pasta that’s impressively elegant and rich, and loaded with the flavors of sweet, young Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and golden butterfat. The key is to use the starchy pasta-cooking water to form a smooth, creamy, emulsified sauce…minus the cream.

Why It Works

  • Using a smaller pot to cook the pasta yields even starchier pasta-cooking water.
  • Adding that starchy pasta-cooking water to the sauce helps emulsify it, ensuring it’s smooth and creamy.

What’s New On Serious Eats

  • Yield:Serves 3 to 4
  • Active time:15 minutes
  • Total time:15 minutes
  • Rated:5
  • Ingredients

    • 1 stick unsalted butter (115g), diced
    • 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (115g), grated on the fine holes of a box grater, plus more for serving (see note)
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 pound fresh fettuccine pasta


    1. 1.

      In a large heatproof bowl, combine butter and cheese. In a medium pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Using tongs, a strainer, or a spider, transfer pasta to bowl with cheese and butter.

    2. 2.

      Add 1/2 cup hot pasta-cooking water, then, using tongs, toss repeatedly until butter is melted and a creamy, emulsified sauce forms. If pasta seems too dry, add a splash or two of additional pasta water until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt, if necessary. Serve, sprinkling more cheese on top at the table.

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