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As Rach explains, there's a restaurant in Rome that has made a butter and cheese pasta forever, and all over Italy, what we know as fettuccine Alfredo is really pasta bianco, or white pasta. White pasta is a very traditional dish, so if you go to Italy and want what you think is Alfredo, don't say Alfredo, say pasta bianco! Another thing to know is that there's no cream in it, just three ingredients: fresh fettuccine, a lot of butter and freshly, finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus salt. If you can't find fresh pasta and don't want to make it, use egg tagliatelle, egg fettuccine or pappardelle.
This easy pasta is a delicious side for any meal, but Rach especially loves it as a first course, followed by her Italian sliced steak with arugula.
For more pasta recipes that are perfect for fall, check out her White Pasta alla Vodka and Pasta with Pumpkin, Brown Butter, Crispy Sage and Nuts.
Warm a large oven-safe bowl on lowest setting of your oven while you bring a large pot with 3 quarts of water to a boil for the pasta. Warm shallow bowls for individual servings, as well.
Salt the water with 2 teaspoons of salt.
Remove the large bowl from the oven and line it with the butter, including up the sides of the bowl.
Cook pasta 2 minutes, then transfer to the bowl with tongs and toss until butter is fully melted and coats the fettuccine. Reserve 1 ½ cups of the cooking water. Add ½ cup of the water to the pasta and about two-thirds of the cheese, but only a handful of cheese at a time, tossing continuously and adding more cheese a handful at a time until it is fully emulsified. Add more pasta water as needed as you work through the cheese.
Place the remaining cheese in a small dish to pass at table. Adjust salt to taste and serve the pasta in warm shallow bowls.