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Visiting the Birthplace of Fettuccine Alfredo

The perfectly cooked pasta in butter is covered with grated cheese and then folded together tableside. While we found the service at a lot of white-tablecloth restaurants in Rome to be snooty, our server here was both charming and funny.

Rome, the birthplace of civilization, is also the birthplace of Fettuccine Alfredo, created in 1914 by Chef Alfredo di Lelio at his civilized restaurant, Alfredo alla Scrofa.

All these years later the restaurant is still serving strong. On the day we visited, every table without exception was having the tableside-tossed dish with its Tum-inducing butter/cheese sauce.  The Italian version is made with just fresh butter from Lenghe in Northern Italy and parmigiano-reggiano that’s been aged 24 months, and served over tender, thin strips of fettuccine. (In the U.S., cream is sometimes added to get that necessary richness.)

As the story goes, in 1927 silent movie stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks discovered the dish on their honeymoon in Rome, and brought the recipe back to the U.S. to serve at their Hollywood dinner parties. Had we looked long enough we may have spotted their picture among the black-and-white publicity photos lining the walls. We did spot Tony Curtis, Sophia Loren and Gregory Peck.

A super-sized plate of Alfredo on the lunch menu is 20 euros. For 25 euros, the business lunch included Alfredo’s hors d’ oeuvres, a reasonable-sized plate of Fettuccine Alfredo, tiramisu, coffee and mineral water.

A delicious bargain. 

The appetizer was more than generous: Creamy fresh mozzarella and four kinds of meats. 
Part 2 of the appetizers included risotto balls and a mini pizza.
Don’t judge this tiramisu by its appearance—it was rich and dreamy.


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