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The Legend of Fettuccine Alfredo: Iconic, Humble, and Hearty

Learn about the roots of everyone's favorite down-home Italian-American dish!
Created from scratch in the SideChef Kitchen, where recipe inspiration and ingredient experimentation are a way of life.
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Created from scratch in the SideChef Kitchen, where recipe inspiration and ingredient experimentation are a way of life.

Some meals feel played out after one or two tries--too difficult, too much time in the kitchen, not quite tasty enough--but then there are the recipes that you just keep coming back to. Like a good book or an old friend, these classics are there to bail us out and remind us why we love to cook (and eat). Fettuccine Alfredo, a simple meal with humble roots, is this kind of dish.

This dish takes the best of Italian pasta know-how and down-home American comfort food to make something as timeless as it is delicious. The roots of the fusion masterpiece date back to 1914, when Alfredo di Lelio set out to make his pregnant wife and her upset stomach a plate of pasta that was both hearty and simple. With the help of some butter, parmesan cheese, and a generous portion of cream, Fettuccine Alfredo was born.

Not long after, di Lelio introduced the dish onto the menu at his restaurant in Rome, serving up the white sauce alongside the house pasta of the day. When Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, famous American silent movie actors, dined there in 1920, the daily pasta happened to be fettuccine, and it went over so well that they requested a copy of the recipe to bring back stateside.

While the dish never really took off in Italy, the Americans grabbed on and didn’t let go, spreading it across the country and adopting it as a staple of Italian-American cuisine. In fact, the meal is so beloved that February 7 marks the annual National Fettuccine Alfredo Day in the United States.

We didn’t think it would be possible for such a legendary classic to get any better, but leave it to chef extraordinaire Leigh Suznovich of Jeanie and Lulu’s Kitchen to take it to the next level. As Leigh says, she began her popular cooking blog as a “love letter to my two incredible grandmothers, both of whom I think about every time I’m in the kitchen.” With grandmotherly knowledge and a love for food (and a diploma from the Institute of Culinary Education to boot), Leigh has definitely raised the bar.


Lemon Thyme Chicken Alfredo

Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen

In her Lemon Thyme Chicken Alfredo, Leigh dishes up her own take on the classic. The freshness of the lemon and thyme makes this pasta feel light enough for spring and summer, while that delicious heavy cream sauce is perfect for the colder fall and winter months. It is sure to please even the pickiest eaters at the table, and Leigh’s clever tweaks keep it interesting for the older and more food-forward crowd. Best of all, it’s ready in only 30 minutes, perfect for weeknight dinners.

So grab some friends and family and gather around to enjoy this yummy take on an old favorite!

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