Mmmm. Fettuccine Alfredo. So simple, so easy and quick to prepare, but so delicious, and so high in calories and saturated fat.
The white, cream based sauce Americans call Alfredo is less than 100 years old. Original Alfredo sauce didn’t use cream? Just butter, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. It was created by Alfredo di Lelio who operated a restaurant in Rome. Legend has it that he fancied up a basic pasta with butter-and-cheese dish, to appeal to his wife, who was suffering from morning sickness. When he later served it at his restaurant, it was a hit.
Pasta with cheese and butter has been around for 100’s of years. It is the original macaroni and cheese before it evolved into the high sodium yellow cheddar cheese based sauce.
According to legend, Americans can thank Hollywood for our love of Alfredo sauce. In the late 1920s, movie stars Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford ate at di Lelio’s restaurant while on their honeymoon in Rome, and brought the dish back to the States. Somewhere along the way it morphed from a fairly healthy pasta recipe into the cream based version.
Pasta with butter and cheese (pasta con burro e formaggio) is as common in Italy as Alfredo sauce is in the Untied States.
Italians do eat pasta with cream sauce called pasta in bianco (bianco is Italian for white).
Pasta with cream sauce is high in calories and saturated fat, Restaurant portions are ridiculously high in calories and sodium. The simplest way to cut calories is to add vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, green beans). Lean protein in the form of chicken or shrimp will reduce the amount of saturated fat.
A 9.5 oz (270g) serving of Pasta Alfredo Primavera has about 460 calories and 290 mg of sodium. Click here for recipe.