The Surprising Origin Of Fettuccine Alfredo

All pasta sauces are not created equal. Some pasta dishes were destined for the stars. Did you know, for example, that Jamie Oliver made Alfredo sauce for Hollywood royalty, Goldie Hawn? Oliver swears she loves it on his website

Alfredo, of course, is a sauce with many faces. You can go the simple route, and make it with only three ingredients: cream cheese, garlic powder, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Any Olive Garden fans out there? You can also go the Olive Garden route, in which case you'll need healthy doses of butter, garlic, flour, milk, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, and Romano cheese. Or you can do it like Jamie Oliver did for Goldie Hawn and add egg, nutmeg, and truffle oil. None of the variations will let you down. Alfredo sauce is just that good, especially when served with its pasta soul mate, fettuccine.

No matter how you prepare your Alfredo, you'll be taking a bite of old, Hollywood romance. 

The Hollywood romance behind Fettuccine Alfredo

According to one version of the story, Alfredo di Lelio invented Alfredo sauce served with fettuccini pasta in 1914 for his wife Ines, who was pregnant with their second child and too nauseous to hold down other foods (via HuffPost). According to another version, he invented the meal in 1908, to strengthen his weakened wife, after the birth of their first son. Before serving it to her, he prayed to Saint Anna, the protector of pregnant woman (via Il Vero Alfredo). Like a miracle, the prayer worked.  

By 1920, di Lelio was serving Alfredo sauce at his restaurant on Via della Scrofa in Rome, Italy, where Hollywood actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford dined on their honeymoon. On the day that Fairbanks and Pickford happened by the restaurant, di Lelio was serving the sauce with fettuccine pasta. The two actors liked the dish so much that they sent de Lelio a golden fork and spoon as thanks.

They also took the recipe for fettuccine Alfredo home with them to the United States. Who knows; maybe they served it to other Hollywood elite at their 22 room mansion in Beverly Hills (via History). Either way, the dish soon became a Hollywood favorite. The rest, as they say, is history.