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fettuccine

pasta ribbons

Thickly 'sliced' pasta ribbons, one of the oldest pasta shapes. Wider than linguine and thinner. Northern Italians call the same shape tagliatelle.

The classic Roman cholesterol powerhouse, Fettuccine Alfredo is made with butter, heavy cream and Parmigiano, and named after its inventor, Alfredo Di Lelio, who opened a restaurant in Rome in 1914, and served the dish he created to Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, who rewarded him with a golden fork and spoon. Di Lelio sold the restaurant in 1943, but reopened a new one called Il Vero Alfredo in Piazza Augusto Imperatore 30, today run by his grandson Alfredo.

In the 1930s, when Cardinal Pacelli came to Rome just before being elected Pope Pius XII, he went to a restaurant in the Borgo by the Vatican and asked the owner if he could devise a light version of spaghetti alla carbonara . The result (made with prosciutto, onion, peas, cream and parmesan was dubbed fettuccine alla papalina (fettuccine for the Pope).

Fettucce is a wider cut of pasta; fettuccia riccia is extra wide and curled (other names include manfredine, riccioline, ricciarelle and sfresatine).

Fettuccelle is the narrower version of fettuccine, and can also be curled (fettuccelle ricce). It's the same as nastrini, reginelle or reginette).

In mid-June Grotte Santo Stefano in Viterbo province holds its annual Sagra delle Fettuccine, celebrating the pasta with three difference sauces (the Tris di Fettuccine): ragú, porcini mushrooms or wild boar sauce.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Alpha