Created by Alfredo di Delio at his mother’s restaurant, Piazza Rosa, in Rome in 1907-8, his Alfredo Sauce was an immediate sensation. His original recipe had only three ingredients—fettucine noodles, young Parmesan cheese, and butter—with the dish prepared tableside with an Italian chef’s flourish. When the recipe reached American shores, it was amended to a considerable extent, with the addition of garlic, heavy whipping cream, herbs, and additional cheeses, particularly Asiago and Romano. Also added in different recipes were various meats: chicken, shrimp, lobster, turkey, and cod.
Factoid (sort of) 1: According to family lore, the origin of the recipe in 1907-8 came about after the birth of Alfredo’s and Ines’s (his wife) first child, Armando, as an inducement to get Ines to eat. Apparently, she was suffering from post-partum depression, as it would be diagnosed today.
Factoid (sort of) 2: Reportedly, after dining at his restaurant in 1927, with Alfredo himself as the tableside preparer, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford presented him with a golden spoon and fork set as tokens of appreciation for his hospitality.
Alfredo Sauce (Prepare Beforehand):
- ½ cup butter
- Minced garlic
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups grated Cheese blend—Parmesan, Asiago, Romano.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Add garlic, cream, pepper, and salt. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 8 minutes. While frequently stirring, judiciously add oregano, basil, and rosemary. Remove from heat and slowly add cheese. Return to stove on low and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts, approx. 2 lbs. (three breasts usually)
- Baby Portabella Mushrooms
- Stalk of Green Onions
- Yellow Onion, Vidalia or Texas Sweet
- Heavy Cream
- Olive Oil
- Minced Garlic
- Cheeses: Parmesan, Asiago, Romano
- Herbs de Provence or Italian Spice Blend
- Bay Leaves
- Garlic Powder
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. In a baking dish, pour in a sufficient amount of olive oil to coat the bottom of the dish and add five dabs of butter in an X-shape. Set the baking dish in the oven until the butter melts.
- As it melts, slice the yellow onion sufficiently to cover the bottom of the baking dish.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven. Crumble a bay leaf and strew lightly on the bottom of the pan, do the same with the rosemary, oregano, and basil—all to taste.
- Grate the cheeses and mix them together, approx. three cups.
- Coat each chicken breast lightly with olive oil and place atop the onions, leaving sufficient room to add the vegetables.
- Remove the stems from the mushrooms and slice into fourths or sixths, depending on the size of the mushroom caps. Cut the roots off the green onions, then cut three-four inches above the bulb. Trim the asparagus. Distribute the vegetables between and around the chicken breasts.
- Sprinkle the cheese blend generously atop the chicken breasts and lightly atop the vegetables. Sprinkle garlic powder, Herbs de Provence or Italian Spice Blend, oregano, basil, and rosemary atop chicken breasts and vegetables. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
- Place in the preheated oven for approx. 20 minutes.; halfway through, remove the foil. When the chicken breasts are done, remove to a serving dish and pour Alfredo sauce on the breasts. Do the same for the vegetables on a separate serving dish—however, swirling any sauce atop the vegetables is optional, some folks like it, others don’t. Serve.
Side Dishes: Pasta Salad, Sliced Tomatoes, Red Beets