Today is National Fettuccine Alfredo Day - a dish certainly worth celebrating. However, it's a dish that has become bastardized here in the USA. --- Here is my simple recipe for real fettuccine Alfredo, which incorporates little more than pasta, good quality butter and great cheese -- not the gloppy, congealed, creamy mess you're probably used to.
REAL FETTUCCINE ALFREDO*
1 lb. dried pasta (fettuccine, tagliatelle or linguine, recommended)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted good quality butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (or more, to taste) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (the good stuff; accept no substitutions!)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring to a boil 6-8 quarts of water plus a small handful of salt in a large pot.
Cook the pasta according to directions until tender, but al dente (firm to the bite).
Drain the pasta, reserving a quarter cup or so of the hot pasta water. Put the pasta into a large bowl or onto a platter.
Add the butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and toss vigorously. Add a splash or two of the reserved pasta water if necessary to loosen the "sauce." It should be silky and glistening.
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately, with additional grated cheese on the side. It's that simple.
*From the forthcoming cookbook THE CRITIC COOKS: Simple and Sensational Cooking with Ted Scheffler