Is Fettuccine Alfredo Really Italian?

Let’s be honest, while filling our stomachs with the delectably rich and creamy sauce covered pasta we know of as Fettuccine Alfredo, we have all believed that we were eating authentic Italian pasta. Now let’s be really honest: some of us have even stated out loud that we would love to have authentic Fettuccine Alfredo in Italy. Sorry to rain on your parade, but the rich and creamy Fettuccine Alfredo we all love is, in fact, not Italian!

The Origin Myth of Fettuccine Alfredo

According to the popular myth, Fettuccine Alfredo was created by a man named Alfredo who was trying to help his horribly nauseous pregnant wife. As the story goes, Alfredo’s pregnant wife suffered from severe nausea and could not keep anything down. In an attempt to help her, Alfredo ran to the kitchen and began to create a dish she could not resist by mixing parmesan and butter and pouring it over fettuccine. Hence, Fettuccine Alfredo was born. Following his invention, Alfredo sold his recipe to Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks who, in turn, brought the recipe to America. This began America’s obsession with Fettucine Alfredo.

The Reality of Fettuccine Alfredo

While the pregnant wife myth is a cute tale, there is not any credibility to the story. It is most likely that Alfredo’s wife was eating pasta in bianco, a dish of plain pasta that is often eaten by someone who has an upset stomach. He could have added the parmesan and butter, however, the creamy sauce that we consider Fettuccine Alfredo was not invented until it reached US soil. And, of course, living in the land where everything can always be improved, Americans invented the new version of Alfredo that we know today. Americans made it richer, creamier, added meat and spices and formed it into a staple of American Italian cuisine.

Alright, time to take a deep breath. This may be a lot to handle for those who just had their views of Italian cuisine shattered. Thankfully, I have some good news for you: while the creamy saucy version of Fettuccine Alfredo is sadly only an American creation, there are restaurants in Italy that serve the actual Italian version of Fettuccine Alfredo.

Arguably the most popular and self-claiming inventor of Fettuccine Alfredo is the Restaurant Alfredo alla Scrofa. Surrounded by pictures upon pictures of current and past celebrities and other famous figures who ventured through the doors, you will fill your stomachs with heaping dishes of the Italian version of Fettuccine Alfredo. Upon your first bite, your taste buds and minds will blossom with the delicious taste of parmesan and butter. But be warned: that white creamy sauce is nowhere in sight!

So, for those who dearly love the American version of Fettuccine Alfredo, sadly you will not find it in Italy, but for those who are intrigued by the Italian version, you will not be disappointed.