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Setting the Record Straight on Alfredo Sauce

 I have searched and for some strange reason I can't find a recipe for Alfredo Sauce. I looked through several cookbooks including an Italian one and not one has a recipe for a good Alfredo Sauce. Am I missing something?

 According to the Web site for the restaurant Alfredo of Rome, Fettuccine Alfredo was invented in 1914 by Alfredo di Lello, whose wife had lost her appetite during pregnancy. He went to the kitchen and mixed up a batch of egg noodles with Parmigiano cheese, cream, and butter, which delighted his wife, and – yes, it actually says this – "the rest is history."

The original restaurant in Rome has been going since 1914, presided over by subsequent generations, all (if you can believe the Web site) named Alfredo. In the 1970s, a family friend opened a branch in New York, and another was in operation at Disney's Epcot theme park from 1982 to 2007. An Alfredos was scheduled to open in Las Vegas in 2009.

But that bit about history, well, it may have been embellished a bit. Italian Cookbook author Giuliano Bugialli says, "the simple, classic butter-and-cream sauce used for fresh pasta is called by several different names, alla panna or cream sauce in Bologna and Florence, doppio burro [double butter] being the correct term for it in Rome. The sauce is probably of northern rather than Roman origin, and calling it 'Alfredo' is giving too much credit to a restaurateur in Rome who clearly did not invent it."

Take that, Chef Alfredo!

Another Italian cookbook author, Marcella Hazan is ever-so-slightly gentler, referring to "the Roman restaurateur who popularized it."

So it may have been that the Italian cookbook you looked through did have the sauce you wanted, but chose to use its original Italian name, which threw you for a loop.

Because Mr. Bugialli clearly won this round by a knockout, we'll point you to his recipe for Alla Panna and let you call it whatever you like – even "Alfredo Sauce." The full recipe includes instructions for making fresh tagliatelle, which we have omitted. But let us tell you that this sauce on fresh pasta is about 3,216% better than on dried pasta (which isn't bad, either).

In her recipe for "Cream and Butter Sauce," Ms. Hazan notes that, "If a fat, fresh white truffle should come your way, one of the best uses for it is to shave it over pasta tossed with Alfredo's sauce." Just in case you happen to have a fresh white truffle hanging around….

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