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Recipe: Mumbai Roma Fettuccine Alfredo

July 25, 2023 13:13 IST
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Fettuccine Alfredo is one of the top dishes in Italian restaurants in America. Rich, packed with cheese and cream, it's tasty alright, but rather heavy on the stomach.

The original dish apparently originates from Rome and was far simpler and light.

The legend goes that, in the early 20th century, a famous Roman restaurateur and chef needed to whip up something for his wife to help her gain her appetite back after the birth of their child and came up with a plain but delicious three-ingredient pasta. She liked it so much, he added it to his menu and the rest is history.

If you google Rome + Fettuccine Alfredo you will come up with dozens of videos of restaurants, on various vias in the Eternal City, all claiming they made the first Alfredo, that was named after their original proprietor, a chap named Alfredo. It is therefore difficult to locate the actual, authentic recipe.

My daughter and I tried a variant of the three-ingredient dish and it turned out pretty, pretty good and was very quick to put together.

It's important to try and find some decent quality Parmesan cheese. But I would imagine any nice-tasting cheese would work for this recipe.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Photograph: Kind courtesy Jorgehdezalonso/Wikimedia Commons

Mumbai ka Roma Fettuccine Alfredo

Serves: 3

  • 300 gm uncooked fettuccine pasta or any wide or chunkier pasta like pappardelle, tagliatelle, linguine, rigatoni, available online or in large grocery stores
  • 2 tsp salt for boiling the pasta + dash for seasoning the pasta
  • ½ to ¾ cup pasta water, reserved after cooking the fettuccine
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese + extra for garnish (also called Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • Dash freshly-crushed black pepper powder
  • 3-4 tbsp finely chopped spring onion greens or fresh chives
  • 2 tsp finely chopped parsley


  • Bring 5-6 cups of water and 2 tsp salt to boil in a covered saucepan over high heat.
    When it comes to a boil add the fettuccine, lower the heat to medium, and boil, uncovered for 4-5 minutes till al dente -- not too soft.Al dente means 'to the tooth' or pasta that has a bite to it.
    Packets of pasta usually have their cooking time listed on them.
    To make a pasta al dente, subtract one minute or 1½ minutes from the cooking time given.
    Drain into a colander, after keeping ¾ cup of the pasta water aside, and return it to the saucepan.
    Add 1 tbsp of the butter and toss.
    Keep aside.
  • In a non-stick frying pan, heat up the remaining 2 tbsp butter and the garlic over low heat till it mildly changes colour and darkens a tiny bit.
    Add the Parmesan cheese and ½ to ¾ cup of the pasta water, depending on how thick you like your pasta sauce.
    Let it cook for just a few minutes, mixing all the time, and quickly pour over the pasta.
    Add the black pepper and lightly toss.
    Add salt if required; the Parmesan also has salt too.
  • Plate the pasta and garnish with the chopped parsley, chopped onions greens, extra Parmesan and serve immediately; pasta gets cold very quickly.

Editor's Note: For those of you who cannot do without your chilly, add several dashes red chilly flakes or 1-2 tsp Tabasco.

This is a classical, three-ingredient dish and is not meant to be complicated with anything more, but if you must, add ½ to ¾ cup sliced mushrooms while frying the butter and garlic, or a few de-shelled, de-headed, tailed prawns, if not observing Shravan.

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