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 on his website that she loves it. 

Alfredo is a sauce with many faces. You can go the simple route and make Alfredo sauce with just three ingredients: cream cheese, garlic powder, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Any Olive Garden fans out there? You can also go the route of Olive Garden's Alfredo sauce recipe, 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 for his wife, Ines, who was pregnant with their second child and too nauseous to hold down other foods, per Menuism. According to another version of the story, he invented the meal in 1908, to strengthen his weakened wife, who suffered a lack of appetite 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. 

Di Lelio opened his namesake restaurant, Alfredo, in Rome in 1914. Hollywood actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford (pictured above) even dined there on their honeymoon. On the day Fairbanks and Pickford happened by the restaurant, di Lelio was serving Alfredo sauce with fettuccine pasta. The two actors liked the dish so much that they sent de Lelio a golden fork and spoon as a thanks.

Who knows; maybe the stars later served fettuccine Alfredo 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.