The story of how fettuccine Alfredo was created is a darling one: It all began in Rome back in 1914 at a restaurant owned by Alfredo di Lelio, whose wife had lost her appetite during pregnancy. Alfredo restored it with a simple dish of egg-rich fettuccine, triple-rich butter, and the heart of a wheel of parmigiano-reggiano cheese. When Hollywood movie stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks arrived in Rome on their honeymoon in 1927, they fell in love with his creation and ate every meal at Alfredo’s, presenting him at the end of their stay with a gold-plated fork and spoon inscribed “To Alfredo, the king of the noodles, July 1927.” Upon their return to Los Angeles, the pair popularized the dish among the Hollywood community, and it became an Italian-American classic, although usually further enriched with heavy cream in the States.
You can still find the original at Alfredo in Rome (30 Piazza Imperatore; 011-06-687-8734) and at either of its two Alfredo the Original of Rome branches in the U.S., one at the Italian Pavilion of EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida (407-827-8417), the other in the brand-new New York branch near Rockefeller Center (4 W. 49th St.; 212-397-0100).
Other restaurants around America that do fettuccine alfredo proud include The Italian Village in Chicago (71 W. Monroe St.; 312-332-7005), Andrea’s near New Orleans (3100 19th St., Metairie; 504-834-8583), and Mario’s in Nashville (2005 Broadway; 615-327-3232).