National Fettuccine Alfredo Day
annually on February 7th
Fettuccine Alfredo is the dish of the day. It is made with a flat-cut egg noodle, fettuccine. The noodles are tossed with butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese—which melts and makes a smooth, rich sauce. Vegetables, chicken, or seafood can be added on top.
Although fettuccine with butter and Parmesan cheese was first mentioned in a fifteenth century cookbook, it wasn't until 1908 that fettuccine Alfredo was created. Alfredo Di Lelio made it for his wife, Ines, after she gave birth to their son, to try to help her get her appetite back. The original dish was made of rich butter, three kinds of flour, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. In 1914, Di Lelio opened a restaurant under his first name, and served the pasta dish. Fettuccine Alfredo became popular after Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford ate it at the restaurant on multiple occasions during their honeymoon in 1927. The international press heard the story and spread it around the world. Within a year a recipe for fettuccine Alfredo appeared in an American cookbook.
Di Lelio sold his restaurant in 1943 and opened a new restaurant with his son in a new location in Rome in 1950. It became a go-to place for Americans traveling abroad in the 1950s, and most came to sample the fettuccine Alfredo. By the mid-1960s, it became a staple of Italian-American restaurants. Most American cooks couldn't recreate the rich original butter, so heavy cream began being used instead. Today fettuccine Alfredo is still popular in Italy as well, where it is often called fettuccine al burro.