Fettuccine Alfredo, affectionately known as "heart attack on a plate" is an exceeding easy to make dish. As with so many recipes, because there are so few ingredients, each needs to be the freshest and the best quality available to you. This is particularly true about the Parmesan cheese. This is no time for "grated cheese in a can" or even the store-bought pre-grated cheese which is typically laden with fillers.
Clearly the dish is high-calorie, high-fat but it is a simple, elegant, special occasion dish. Even a small portion is very filling and works well served with a generously-sized fresh salad.
Prepare a pot with boiling, salted water for the pasta.
Have the ingredients all prepared and set up. Grate the cheese with a fine grater so it will melt quickly.
Start the pasta cooking and start the sauce at the same time assuming you're using dry pasta that takes about 10 -12 minutes, maximum to cook. Drain well. Make sure to reserve about 1 cup of the starchy pasta water to thin the sauce later if needed.
While the pasta is cooking, place a skillet on the stove over a medium to a medium-low setting and warm the butter and cream together. Season the butter and cream mixture with salt and pepper to taste. You can use white pepper if you have it so you don't see the little specs left with black pepper but black pepper is fine too.
Add half the Parmesan cheese and whisk into the warmed mixture until smooth.
Add half the remaining cheese into a wide pasta bowl or other serving dish and place the drained pasta on top of the cheese, then pour the warm mixture on top of the pasta and toss gently to combine. If the sauce is too thick add a little bit of the saved pasta water.
Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining Parmesan and server into warmed bowls or plates. Sprinkle each portion with a little finely chopped fresh Italian parsley.
This "classic version" is typical of the ingredients used to make the dish in the U.S. The original Fettuccine all'Alfredo" was created in 1914 by restauranteur Alfredo Di Lelio in Rome, Italy. The original version was made with only large quantities of butter and aged Parmesan cheese and served table side. The "trick" to the dish was to have the platter warm, the freshly boiled pasta, very hot and to toss and twirl the pasta until the silky sauce formed. You can find a recreation of the original Fettuccine all' Alfredo recipe here.