This is how you make fettuccine Alfredo like the Romans. It's an incredibly simple and quick dish with only a few key ingredients: pasta, butter, and cheese. The result is a pasta that's impressively elegant and rich, and loaded with the flavors of sweet, young Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and golden butterfat. The key is to use the starchy pasta-cooking water to form a smooth, creamy, emulsified sauce...minus the cream.
Why It Works
- Using a smaller pot to cook the pasta yields even starchier pasta-cooking water.
- Adding that starchy pasta-cooking water to the sauce helps emulsify it, ensuring it's smooth and creamy.
- Yield:Serves 3 to 4
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:15 minutes
- 1 stick unsalted butter (115g), diced
- 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (115g), grated on the fine holes of a box grater, plus more for serving (see note)
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound fresh fettuccine pasta
In a large heatproof bowl, combine butter and cheese. In a medium pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Using tongs, a strainer, or a spider, transfer pasta to bowl with cheese and butter.
Add 1/2 cup hot pasta-cooking water, then, using tongs, toss repeatedly until butter is melted and a creamy, emulsified sauce forms. If pasta seems too dry, add a splash or two of additional pasta water until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt, if necessary. Serve, sprinkling more cheese on top at the table.