Is it everybody’s favorite pasta dish? Well, I had a party once where I set up a pasta bar, with six different pasta dishes. This is the one everybody talked about. Although most versions use heavy cream, I find you get a better flavor if the sauce is lighter. So I use half-and-half instead, and take up the flavor slack with butter. Some recipes–including the one from the restaurant in Rome for which the dish is named–call for an egg yolk to be added to the hot, sauced pasta right before serving. Others use Romano cheese to replace the Parmigiano. I offer those suggestions for a change of pace.
Fans of Impastato’s (of which I am one) will note that this is more or less how Joe Impastato makes his famous fettuccine. He makes it in the dining room, so you can watch how he does it.
- 1 lb. thin fettuccine noodles
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- Fresh ground pepper
1. Cook the fettuccine in a gallon of water at a rolling boil with a tablespoon of salt dissolved in it. Cook only until very flexible, but still firm. Drain and keep warm. Reserve 1/4 cup of the water.
2. In a large skillet, melt the butter, then whisk in the half-and-half. Bring it to a light boil over medium heat until blended completely. Whisk in the reserved pasta water, then turn off the heat.
3. Add the hot pasta to and sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese. With two forks, toss the pasta with the sauce until the cheese is blended in. If you like, add an egg yolk at this point and toss quickly to blend.
4. Serve with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serves four entrees or eight appetizers.