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7 Different Ways To Enjoy Alfredo Sauce

The original fettuccine alfredo is a simple recipe prepared directly in the warm pasta–it's not really a sauce as much as it is a technique or condiment to freshly made pasta. But over the last century, the term Alfredo sauce has become synonymous with a cheesy, garlicky cream sauce that tops everything from pasta to vegetables.

Pasta al Burro

One of the oldest preparations for pasta, Pasta al Burro simply means pasta with butter. Pasta al burro e formaggio or burro e parmigiano, meaning butter and cheese or butter and Parmigiano, is a similarly old, simple pasta recipe. These variations are considered the foundational recipe Alfredo Di Lelio expanded on to create the now famous Fettuccine Alfredo. 

Il Vero Fettuccine Alfredo

The original Fettuccine Alfredo was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio around 1908 as a home remedy for his ailing wife. Drawing on the classic pasta al burro recipe, he added more butter and more cheese to pasta made with extra egg yolks, all in an attempt to bolster his wife's calorie intake. The recipe worked, she recovered, and then insisted he add the dish to the menu of his restaurant. Di Lelio eventually sold his original restaurant, but after World War II, Di Lelio wanted to get back into the restaurant game and opened Il Vero Alfredo in the center of Rome.

Pasta al Triplo Burro

Alfredo's recipe in Italian was sometimes known as fettuccine with triple butter, or Triplo Burro, referring to the amount of butter in the original recipe. 

Pennsylvania Dutch Noodle Company Recipe

In the 1960s, the Pennsylvania Dutch Noodle Company introduced a new enriched pasta product, a golden egg fettuccine. To help promote the new line of noodles, the company also released various recipes including a variation on Alfredo sauce. The company's recipe included Swiss cheese and whole cream producing an easier-to-prepare recipe.

Chicken Alfredo Olive Garden

General Mills had gotten into the restaurant business in the 1970s after buying out Bill Darden's seafood restaurant, Red Lobster. Looking to replicate that success, the conglomerate decided to launch an Italian-themed restaurant. The first Olive Garden opened in Florida in 1982, and Chicken Alfredo was a signature menu item that remains unchanged. The sauce created for the Olive Garden includes milk and cream and adds Romano cheese, a notably cheaper ingredient compared to the Parmigiano Reggiano. In addition to chicken, Olive Garden also offers Seafood Alfredo, Shrimp Alfredo, Steak Alfredo, and plain Alfredo.

Alfredo Primavera

Pasta primavera might sound authentically Italian, and indeed, it became a popular dish at the time that "authentic" or "northern" Italian restaurants were in demand in the United States, but the original pasta primavera was invented in New York for French restaurant Le Cirque. The complicated concoction features fresh vegetables including zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, and peas along with cream, butter, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. These last two ingredients might be why a popular variation of the dish became known as Alfredo Primavera. As pasta primavera spread to Italian restaurant menus throughout the New York City area in the late 1970s and early 1980s, many of the variations were known as Alfredo Primavera to capitalize on the popularity of both recipes.

Chicken Alfredo Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread, also known as pull-apart-bread, has its origins in Hungary. Hungarian, especially Jewish Hungarian immigrants introduced arany galuska, meaning golden dumpling, at the end of the 19th century. It remained a relatively obscure ethnic food until the middle of the 20th century when Zazu Pitts came along. Pitts was a prolific monkey bread baker, and provided a recipe for it while promoting a film in the 1940s. In the subsequent years, the secret sugar-topped pull-apart bread grew more popular in Women's magazines, newspapers, and even Betty Crocker. By the 1980s, the Reagan White House had made Monkey Bread a staple of Christmas celebrations, and that's when things got weird. Cooks began developing savory versions of monkey bread with spinach, chicken, and cheese. The Pillsbury company developed recipes like Buffalo Chicken as a promotion for Grands brand biscuits. Chicken Alfredo bread has become a popular alternative combining chicken, Italian cheese like asiago or Parmigiano, and a creamy white sauce. 

Alfredo Sauce Pizza

Topping pizza with a creamy Alfredo sauce was probably inevitable once the "sauce" was separated from the pasta. By the 1990s, "white pizza," grew in popularity and was widely available across the country. Alfredo sauce pizzas were often topped with a green like spinach or artichoke hearts. Chain pizzerias like Papa John's have an Extra Cheese Alfredo Pizza, and upscale independent joints like Cuts & Slices, New York City's fusion of pizza and Caribbean cuisine, even has numerous Alfredo sauce pizzas including a Jerk Chicken Black Truffle Alfredo.

Barbara Benzoni

 Barbara Benzoni was born in Milan and lives between Rome and Tuscany. She is devoted to USA, the land of courage and innovation. She’s Peter's super-lucky mum and Ale's wife. Cinema, art, good food and only beautiful things are the themes of her existence. With a degree in Italian literature and a Masters in Sports Management she can both enjoys books and basketball matches. In 25 years she has been organizing sport events all over the world and she’s been lucky enough to meet the greatest champs ever. Curiosity in everyday life and people are her drivers. Her personal icon is Mohammed Ali : "It's not bragging if you can back it up".


Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American. He is a writer, editor, and graphic designer living in Brooklyn. Connect with him at IanMacAllen.com or on Twitter @IanMacAllen.