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History of Fettucine Alfredo


We are going to continue to celebrate October's National Pasta Month at our wine tasting and pairing tonight. Arny will be making Pasta Alfredo with fettucine. Do you know how and where this dish originated?

In 1914, one particular upset stomach initiated what we now know as fettuccine alfredo. Alfredo di Lelio ran a restaurant on the Via della Scrofa in Rome. His wife Ines was pregnant with their second child, and the pregnancy caused her terrible nausea. Unable to keep much down, Alfredo made Ines a dish of plain pasta, pasta in bianco, or white pasta. He tossed the fresh-made pasta with butter and Parmesan. Alfredo added it to the restaurant's menu. While on their honeymoon in 1920, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, two famous American actors of the silent movies, were in the restaurant and tasted the fettucine. They asked for the recipe, and brought it home to the U.S. To express their gratitude to Alfredo and his restaurant, the couple sent a gift of silverware and a photo of the two of them in the restaurant. The gold fork and spoon were engraved with the words, "to Alfredo the King of the noodles" and their names. Reporters wrote about the gift, touting "Alfredo's fettuccine" to the Hollywood elite. In 1943, di Lilio sold the restaurant to a new owner, who kept the restaurant's name (Alfredo alla Scrofa), menu, and all the photos on the wall. In 1950, Alfredo and his son Armando opened another restaurant, Il Vero Alfredo, "the true Alfredo," which is now managed by Alfredo's grandchildren. Both restaurants claim to be the originator of the dish. But fettuccine alfredo didn't take off in Italy as it did in the United States. In 1977, di Lilio and a partner opened another Alfredo's near Rockefeller Center in New York City. A third Alfredo's opened in Epcot at Disney World, but closed in 2007. Together, these restaurants popularized and made ubiquitous "alfredo sauce," which has been varied with chicken, shrimp, assorted cheeses, and different ratios of flour, cream, or milk. Back in Italy, however, the only place you'll find alfredo sauce is at the competing Alfredo restaurants, where the fettuccine alfredo is mixed tableside, often with the Pickford and Fairbanks golden fork and spoon (each has a set they claim to be the original).

Tonight we'll be tasting some of our select white wines - JM Fronseca Twin Vines Vinho Verde, 1924 Scotch Barrel-Aged Chardonnay, and Astoria Sparkling Moscato. Join us from 5-8 p.m.

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