Traditional Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

Learn how to make Fettuccine Alfredo without cream using just 3 ingredients: pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and butter. Yes, this is the traditional Fettuccine Alfredo you will find in Italy… Just don’t ask for Fettuccine Alfredo there! Instead ask for…

Pasta Burro e Parmigiano

Probably one of the most iconic dishes associated with Italy abroad, traditional Fettuccine Alfredo is also one of the easiest and tastiest pasta recipes you can make.

The irony? If you ask for Fettuccine Alfredo outside of tourist areas in Italy, most Italians will look at you perplexed and ask who this ‘Alfredo’ is and why he has a pasta dish named after him! Italians know this dish by a name that translates to: ‘fettuccine (or pasta) butter and parmigiano’ and it dates back to the 1400’s.

The ‘Alfredo’ refers to Alfredo di Lelio, an owner of a restaurant in Rome who began serving this common Italian dish in the 1900’s under the name “fettuccine al triplo burro” (fettuccine with tripled butter). It was famous then as well now for its creamy sauce and also because it was finished on the table in a theatrical manner. The dish quickly became a favorite of tourists who loved how the restaurant prepared the dish with flair and they began calling it “Fettuccine Alfredo”.

The butter to cheese ratio makes this an easy dish for beginners to prepare as well. This is because the cheese easily melts in the butter, creating a creamy and rich sauce that is desired around the world. No need to add heavy cream!

Creating a traditional Fettuccine ‘Alfredo’ as they do in Rome!

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How to Make Traditional Fettuccine Alfredo: Tips

How do I avoid clumpy sauce?

Unlike Italian cheese sauces like that in the Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, an ‘Alfredo’ (butter and Parmigiano sauce) is much more foolproof for beginners to make. This is because the butter and Parmigiano cheeses can together easily create a creamy emulsion.

The entire sauce for this pasta recipe is created off the heat. Layer the pieces of butter and sprinkle finely ground Parmigiano cheese under and over the hot, cooked and drained fettuccine. Add a ladle or two of hot pasta water and mix with two forks or thongs. Watch our video recipe above to see this in action!

Can I use pre-grated cheese/ pre-ground pepper?

Sure! However, we assure you that the best flavor is always achieved by freshly grating or grinding your ingredients. As with most cheesy Italian pasta sauces, you really want to start with a very finely grated cheese.

If you use a food processor, grate the cheese with the finest grate. Then, for good measure, you can also sift the grated cheese through a fine strainer to achieve an even finer consistency.

Cutting fresh pasta into fettuccine!

How do I Make Fresh Fettuccine?

Fresh pasta really delivers for this dish. Learn how to make fresh egg pasta and cut it into fettuccine in our video recipe below!

Discover More Cheesy Italian Food Recipes

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Traditional Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe

Learn how to make Fettuccine Alfredo without cream using just 3 ingredients: pasta, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and butter.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword cheesy, pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 6 oz Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese finely grated/ground
  • 6.5 tbsp butter
  • 11 oz fettuccine pasta fresh is best


Make the Pasta

  • Make the fresh fettuccine by using our recipe. Or, move to the next step if you already have the fettuccine prepared or have bought it.

Prepare the Ingredients

  • Finely grate the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Once done, sift the cheese as well. It must have a powdery consistency for this recipe.
    Cut the butter into small cubes.

Cook the Pasta

  • Cook the fettuccine in gently boiling water. A gently boiling water will help you avoid to break this thin egg pasta, which tends to be more delicate than something like spaghetti. 
    If using fresh pasta, it will only take 2-3 minutes to cook the pasta. Otherwise, follow the package instructions.

Finish the Pasta

  • Drain the pasta but do not discard the pasta water!
    On a large serving dish or bowl, add half of butter. Then, add the drained pasta on top of the butter. Then, add the rest of butter. 
    Using a spoon and fork, mix the pasta and butter delicately until the butter is melted and coats the pasta. 
    Then add the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, a couple of spoons at a time. Continue to mix. 
    Add a ladle of pasta water and mix again. The creamy sauce will start to form. Continue adding more cheese (and more water if needed) until you have created a thin white sauce.
    Serve and enjoy! Note: The sauce will continue to thicken on the plate. 


2 thoughts on “Traditional Fettuccine Alfredo Recipe”


    With reference to your article I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “Fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”) in 1908 in the “trattoria” run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). This “trattoria” of Piazza Rosa has become the “birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    More specifically, as is well known to many people who love the “fettuccine all’Alfredo”, this famous dish in the world was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio concerned about the lack of appetite of his wife Ines, who was pregnant with my father Armando (born February 26, 1908).
    Alfredo Di Lelio opened his restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome and in 1943, during the war, he sold the restaurant to others outside his family.
    In 1948 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 “Il Vero Alfredo” (“Alfredo di Roma”), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by me, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality).
    See the website of “Il Vero Alfredo”.
    I must clarify that other restaurants “Alfredo” in Rome do not belong and are out of my brand “Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma”.
    The brand “Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma” is present in Mexico with a restaurant in Mexico City and a trattoria in Cozumel on the basis of franchising relationships with the Group Hotel Presidente Intercontinental Mexico.
    The restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo” is in the Registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence – section on Historical Activities of Excellence” of the Municipality of Roma Capitale.
    Best regards Ines Di Lelio



    Con riferimento al Vostro articolo ho il piacere di raccontarVi la storia di mio nonno Alfredo Di Lelio, inventore delle note “fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”).
    Alfredo Di Lelio, nato nel settembre del 1883 a Roma in Vicolo di Santa Maria in Trastevere, cominciò a lavorare fin da ragazzo nella piccola trattoria aperta da sua madre Angelina in Piazza Rosa, un piccolo slargo (scomparso intorno al 1910) che esisteva prima della costruzione della Galleria Colonna (ora Galleria Sordi).
    Il 1908 fu un anno indimenticabile per Alfredo Di Lelio: nacque, infatti, suo figlio Armando e videro contemporaneamente la luce in tale trattoria di Piazza Rosa le sue “fettuccine”, divenute poi famose in tutto il mondo. Questa trattoria è “the birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    Alfredo Di Lelio inventò le sue “fettuccine” per dare un ricostituente naturale, a base di burro e parmigiano, a sua moglie (e mia nonna) Ines, prostrata in seguito al parto del suo primogenito (mio padre Armando). Il piatto delle “fettuccine” fu un successo familiare prima ancora di diventare il piatto che rese noto e popolare Alfredo Di Lelio, personaggio con “i baffi all’Umberto” ed i calli alle mani a forza di mischiare le sue “fettuccine” davanti ai clienti sempre più numerosi.
    Nel 1914, a seguito della chiusura di detta trattoria per la scomparsa di Piazza Rosa dovuta alla costruzione della Galleria Colonna, Alfredo Di Lelio decise di aprire a Roma il suo ristorante “Alfredo” che gestì fino al 1943, per poi cedere l’attività a terzi estranei alla sua famiglia.
    Ma l’assenza dalla scena gastronomica di Alfredo Di Lelio fu del tutto transitoria. Infatti nel 1948 riprese il controllo della sua tradizione familiare ed aprì, insieme al figlio Armando, il ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” (noto all’estero anche come “Alfredo di Roma”) in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 (cfr. il sito web di Il Vero Alfredo).
    Con l’avvio del nuovo ristorante Alfredo Di Lelio ottenne un forte successo di pubblico e di clienti negli anni della “dolce vita”. Successo, che, tuttora, richiama nel ristorante un flusso continuo di turisti da ogni parte del mondo per assaggiare le famose “fettuccine all’Alfredo” al doppio burro da me servite, con
    l’impegno di continuare nel tempo la tradizione familiare dei miei cari maestri, nonno Alfredo, mio padre Armando e mio fratello Alfredo. In particolare le fettuccine sono servite ai clienti con 2 “posate d’oro”: una forchetta ed un cucchiaio d’oro regalati nel 1927 ad Alfredo dai due noti attori americani M. Pickford e D. Fairbanks (in segno di gratitudine per l’ospitalità).
    Desidero precisare che altri ristoranti “Alfredo” a Roma non appartengono e sono fuori dal mio brand di famiglia.
    Il brand “Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma” è presente in Messico con un ristorante a Città del Messico e una trattoria a Cozumel sulla base di rapporti di franchising con il Group Hotel Presidente Intercontinental Mexico.
    Vi informo che il Ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” è presente nell’Albo dei “Negozi Storici di Eccellenza – sezione Attività Storiche di Eccellenza” del Comune di Roma Capitale.

    Grata per la Vostra attenzione ed ospitalità nel Vostro interessante blog, cordiali saluti
    Ines Di Lelio


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