Carbonara is one of the most famous Italian pasta recipes, as simple as it is delicious, although half the world is still determined to sully it by adding cream. Curiously, there is another even more popular in the United States, born in Italy but almost unknown among Italians: alfredo sauce it is even simpler as it does not have egg yolk.
Usually prepared with fettuccine, but just as valid with other long-form pasta, alfredo sauce is hardly recognized in its country of origin as such, although it is pure Italian essence. With very few ingredients, it is a perfect recipe to eat well when the fridge is low.
The history of this dish takes us back to the first decades of the 20th century, to the city of Rome. There the cook Alfredo di LelioWorking in the family restaurant named after his last name, he devised his own version of a basic Roman preparation based on butter and cheese. He increased the calories on the plate to nourish his wife, then pregnant, and called for creation fettuccine to the triple donkey. He liked it so much that he incorporated it into the menu and would replicate it in his own restaurant, years later.
True success was supposed to come when Hollywood actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks they were ecstatic with the dish, making the recipe world famous. The dish, already bearing the name of its creator, gained enormous popularity in the United States, where Italian-American cuisine was booming and is still one of the most appreciated in the country today.
Although originally it takes nothing but water, butter and cheese, recipes that add cream, heavy cream or a light roux are common today. But the most genuine elaboration, like the real carbonara, shines precisely for its simplicity.
Put plenty of salty water to heat and cook the pasta when it is boiling with joy. Check the cooking well to remove it with a slotted spoon or tongs a couple of minutes before the marked time in the package to be al dente, as we will need an extra time to cook afterwards.
Let the pasta drain on a colander, trying not to pile it up too much, and keep all or most of the water. Pour two ladles of that water with the butter into a large frying pan and heat. Stir gently with a few rods until it melts Add half of the cheese and stir until melted.
Add the pasta to the pan, stirring well, and a few more ladle of water until it reaches the desired consistency. To incorporate the rest of the cheese, stir and add plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Serve with more cheese and pepper on each plate.
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With what to accompany the fettuccine
If we serve good portions of these fettuccine alfredo we will be more than satisfied with the meal, being able to add a light salad as a side. We can also serve pasta as a first course, in smaller portions, followed by some fish or soft meat, for example grilled, with a simple garnish of sautéed vegetables.
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