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tablespoons (1 stick) salted European-style butter (see headnote), sliced about ½-inch thick
ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (without rind), cut into rough ½-inch chunks
9-ounce packages fresh fettuccine
Story by J.M. Hirsch
MAKE THIS. It's all of the delicious. First bite, my husband said "mmmmmmm this is good." He was right. We like to make our own pasta, and 2 quarts water seemed shallow, but YES. You will love this.
I was wondering about making this for two as the leftovers aren't as good. Should I half the cooking water for the pasta or is that too little water? The rest seems easy to half.
Hi Edith -
Since this recipe requires a very delicate balance of water to pasta to properly cook the pasta and build the sauce we can't recommend modifications since we haven't tested it. So sorry we can't be more helpful!
The Milk Street Team
This is outstanding! Made it exactly as directed and it turned out great! I wouldn’t make any changes to the recipe. It will be my “go to”recipe for fettuccine Alfredo. I also like the Milk Street recipe for Pasta with Parmesan Cream but the fettuccine Alfredo recipe has awesome flavor without the cream. Excellent recipe!
My package of pasta says to cook for 7 minutes. However, the recipe here says to cook 2 minutes? Is there a happy medium?
Hi Mike -
Are you sure you are using *fresh* fettuccine, not dried? This recipe was developed using fresh pasta which should only take a few minutes to cook. Unfortunately, we did not test the recipe using dried pasta since all of the versions we had in Italy used fresh (homemade, actually) pasta.
The Milk Street Team
If you want to see a really wonderful video that talks about the origin of this dish, as well as showing the proper technique for tossing the pasta (as described in this recipe), go to YouTube and search for the "Pasta Grammar" channel and their video labeled: Is Fettuccine Alfredo ACTUALLY Italian?
Vincenzo's Plate actually does a nice video, too
My cheese clumped, not sure why. It was still really good!
I see that the question of using dried fettuccine, as opposed to fresh fettuccine, was brought up in an earlier email (dated 2 July 2021). However, since many home cooks have a supply of dried pastas; but, do not have a source for reliable fresh pasta, and, sadly do not have the time to make their own fresh pastas, have you researched the question of adapting the recipe to use good quality dried pasta? I have recently read the article, and recipe in July -- August 2021 issue of "Milk Street" and am interested in adapting it to be made with dried pasta. Would you think I would be on the right track to increase the amount of water slightly (probably by no more than an additional one-quarter to one-half of a cup) to allow for loss by evaporation while cooking the pasta for the longer time required for dried pasta?
Hi Steven -
Many supermarkets now carry fresh pasta in their deli refrigerated section - Buitoni is a widely-available brand, so we recommend looking there for fresh fettuccine. You can certainly try to make the recipe using dried pasta but, as you mentioned, the amount of water may need to be increased in order to cook the pasta through. The pasta water itself may also be more starchy, since it will be more concentrated, so you may find you need to add more to loosen the sauce. Good luck!
The Milk Street Team
Made this for dinner last night and WOW! Great taste and so easy after a busy day at work. Definitely going into the rotation!
I tried this recipe with gluten-free fresh fettucine and it came out great (it felt perhaps like a little too much sauce which makes sense - gluten-free pasta isn't able to soak up as much). I also made 1/2 recipe....I used the same amount of water (2qt) but only 9oz of pasta. I halved the butter and parmigiano reggiano. Anyway, absolutely delicious!
I used regular old store-bought fettuccine and cooked it according to the package directions. It turned out great, though of course the fresh fettuccine would have been even more delicious.