Feeling Tired? Feeling Frugal? Make This Spicy Alfredo.

Oct 27, 2022 · 110 comments
hermaj506 (Australia)
Astounded by some of the comments on this article, I decided to actually make the recipe before weighing in. It was quick, simple, comforting and delicious. The chilli crisp cooked in beautifully with the cream and butter, giving it a lovely savouriness without being overbearing - I could happily have stopped at that combo alone. In finishing the dish, it cooked up exactly as expected for an Alfredo, with all the right creamy, cheesy, comforting pasta notes I would normally expect - enhanced, but not overpowered by the chilli crisp. A beautiful payoff with minimal effort. Thanks for sharing a wonderful fusion that I never would have thought to try otherwise!
@hermaj506 Astounding is the word. At least some of the comments are about food, even if the strident writer hasn’t even cooked the dish. It’s the airing of personal grievance that really clouds the atmosphere. I noticed that in the last Melissa Clark recipe, the Times finally just deleted entire comment section. It was being bombarded by irrelevant personal commentary and had veered far, far away from paneer.
@hermaj506 I should add that, like you, I did prepare this dish and found it easy, delicious, and a nice departure from my usual pastas. It is the type of dish that will be even more appreciated as the weather gets colder in our household, and not a combination that would have come to me without this article.
anne (Rome, Italy)
In Italy, a dish now called Fettuccine Alfredo, is called "pasta al burro" by most Italians. It is a dish for finicky children or for sick people, or just as quick comfort food. Unless you are from Rome, most Italian people have not heard of Alfredo DiLelio who made a dish for his wife who had recently given birth and was not feeling so well. So DiLelio added the dish to his menu and a number of Hollywood stars, ie Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks found out about it and just loved it. Believe me, no Italian would pay money for such a quick and easily made dish, but DiLelio's restaurant became famous for Americans who even took the recipe with them to the USA. Soon people were adding cream,ham, and peas, and whatever leftover from their fridge, and continued to call it fettuccine Alfredo. At any rate, you can make whatever you want, because you have to eat it, or maybe not. PS: In the photo, those are not fettuccine, they are tagliatelle. PPS: Pickford and Fairbanks gave DiLelio a solid gold fork and spoon for serving the fettuccine. During WW II, at certain point Mussolini requested people to donate their wedding rings for the war effort. In Piazza Venezia where he used to do his speeches, there was a huge cauldron for people to bring their rings. DeLelio donated the gold fork and spoon, however it was found out that they were not gold at all. Various proverbs can be applied!
APS (Olympia WA)
my lunch today is microwaved egg noodles mixed in with kimchi
The outrage will be next week when I will be writing that turkeys from America were served in France half a century before the British even set a foot in America.
Next is sardines pasta made with ham. If you don't know how to cook sardines why not making it with ham in a can and still call it sicilian sardines pasta ? It is a free world ! I love this sardines pasta made with ham from Wild Boar !
This morning Ross Douthat wrote a whole paper saying that right is left and left is right and Michel Foucault thought exactly like Trump ! Everything very American. Alfredo pasta made with tomatoes and chili ?
Barbara (WV)
If I wanted to peruse all NYT recipes (and could afford it), I would subscribe to NYT Food. I do subscribe to NYT news. On that page, there is a "food" area with links for subscribers. I have no quibble with that. I do find it repeatedly offensive that, when the Times FEATURES a food article about a single specific recipe, they block it for NYT subscribers unless they upgrade.
John (America, I think)
Sounds like a mildly interesting recipe for pasta with some kind of sauce. I'm at a complete loss to understand why the world "Alfredo" has been put into this. Doesn't anything mean anything any more?
Marjorie Summons (Greenpoint)
Beth from Princeton makes this with arsenic.
Peter (Minneapolis)
The comments section here show how much people will complain about literally everything. It's pasta, cheese and chili crisp, people. Relax, find something more important to get outraged at.
rich (hutchinson isl. fl)
I subscribe to the Times is because I believe we need to support reliable news sources. But I do not like them squeezing me for recipes and crossword puzzles. When the Times offers it's subscribers an article that's about a recipe, they should include the recipe.
Peter (Minneapolis)
@rich If you think this is bad, wait you see how much you get upsold literally everywhere else.
John (Boston, ma)
@rich the link to the recipe is at the very end...
Aaron (ny)
@John and the recipe is blocked from being viewed unless you're a food, or recipe, or cooking, or whatever subscriber.
mrsg (MA)
Recipes like this are the reason why I end up making the classic dishes that have been in the Joy of Cooking for a hundred years. Creativity is great, but everything doesn't go with everything else.
@mrsg In France it is called "taste ' Le Gout . Which applies to fashion, food, manners, art, etc...
Bnanie (Boston,MA)
I wonder if all the folks who are carping about the name of this recipe and issues related to “cultural appropriation “ have tried making it. I made it tonight- doubled the amount of spinach but otherwise no changes and it it was the best five minute recipe ever! Healthiest thing I’ve ever made, no, but there’s certainly been worse too! Sometimes you just need something that’s quick AND yummy and this fits the bill. Thanks Genevieve!!
@Bnanie I would not like to be invited at your table.
Lisl (Weehawken)
Was delicious. I almost licked the serving bowl.
Equitable world (Pittsburgh)
People from different cultures find a way to adapt and enjoy each others food with their own creativity. To those who find the terms alfredo and pasta blasphemous in this context, think about this: they are just words coined by someone centuries ago when there were fewer ingredients and much less knowledge about the rest of the world. Just because someone from the past said something does not mean it should get codified or called tradition. We can and do make our own "traditions". So lighten up. Use alfredo or whatever you want to call it with soba noodles and make it your own if that pleases you. At the end of the day, it is you the person in this time and place that matters. That said, this post was neither revealing nor inspiring. It exemplified laziness through the use of pantry ingredients without much thought to nutrition. Spinach seems to be a half-hearted attempt to make this dish appear healthier. Perhaps, one could include greens that are quick and easy to cook alongside the pasta such as broccoli, beans, asparagus, etc. Surely, a protein such as egg or grilled meats that might be sitting in the fridge would serve to make this a full and satisfying meal.
Colorado Girl (Colorado Springs)
@Equitable world No Italian would use an imported ingredient like tomatoes, would they????
@Colorado Girl When were tomatoes imported by spaniards in Italy? Last century ?
Carmela Sanford (Niagara Falls, New York)
Blasphemy. This is nowhere near being Fettuccine Alfredo. It’s not even remotely a renamed tribute. It’s an Asian-accented dish that the New York Times has decided to spin as something it isn’t. This is insulting to culinary tradition. Fettuccine Alfredo is real, it’s Roman, and it is simplicity itself. Alfredo is not a “sauce.” It’s a person’s name. In fact, this recipe is offensive to Italy, Italians, and pasta making. It’s especially offensive to Alfredo Di Lelio, the man who popularized a very simple and wonderful dish of parmigiano-reggiano cheese and unsalted butter in the early 1900s at his restaurant in Rome, Italy. You can still eat at the original ristorante where Di Lelio first presented his Fettuccine Alfredo to his customers. It was a home-based dish, popular with some Italian families, that went international. Alfredo Alla Scrofa on Via della Scrofa in Rome is the most celebrated purveyor of Fettuccine Alfredo. The famous gold spoons given to Alfredo as a gift from American silent movie stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks for making such a great pasta delight are on proud and prominent display.
Ahuva (10504 since 1989)
@Carmela Sanford Would it be inappropriate for me to tell you how much i love you for this post? Mille grazie for telling the story and igniting the nightmare that is this recipe. BE WELL Molto baci.
Carmela Sanford (Niagara Falls, New York)
@Ahuva Very appropriate. Thank you.
Independent Observer (Texas)
@Carmela Sanford "It’s an Asian-accented dish that the New York Times has decided to spin as something it isn’t. This is insulting to culinary tradition" I can't imagine why, but I read this with the Muppet Sam the Eagle's voice. :-)
EL Joseph (Dallas,TX)
Sad that we cannot see the recipe:( ugh I don't want to upgrade.
rich (hutchinson isl. fl)
@EL Joseph The reason I subscribe to the Times is because I believe we need reliable news sources. But I do not like them squeezing me for recipes and crossword puzzles. When the Times offers it's subscribers an article that's about a recipe, they should include the recipe.
Mimi (New York, NY)
@rich You do realize it costs loads of $$$$ to develop recipes, right?
Gale (La Jolla & Vermont)
@Mimi Exactly. Enough with all the whining about others expecting to be paid for their work product. I assume the complainers all work for free.
Andrew Shin (Toronto)
Why not bibim naengmyeon (spicy buckwheat noodles) or kimchi guksu (kimchi somen noodles)? Fettucine is not a likely canvas for chili crisp. Finely chopped kimchi would add indispensable texture, crunch rather than wilt.
Independent Observer (Texas)
@Andrew Shin "Fettucine is not a likely canvas for chili crisp" Why? While most of the arrabiatas I saw in Sicily/Italy admittedly involved penne, subbing in fettuccine would not be by any means out of bounds (and yeah, chili crisp does have fermented soy, but I don't think that should limit it to Asian-only carbs).
Andrew Shin (Toronto)
@Independent Observer Too much pasta (breadth, thickness) and insufficiently sinewy, which is a slightly different quality than al dente. Arrabiata aside, it is no coincidence that most spicy sauces complement distinctively Asian noodles while the traditional dressing for fettuccine is creamy and dairy-based. Pasta al pomodoro is probably the dish most adaptable to an Asian rendering.
Independent Observer (Texas)
@Andrew Shin To each his/her own. To me, that main picture looks like it goes just fine with the crisp.
Liam (Allston/Brighton, MA)
NYT, this article contains two embedded links for "chili crisp," both go to another paywall recipe. The author could have recommended a couple of quality brands to shop for, be it at Amazon or the local gourmet shop. Maybe the folks over at Wirecutter would be willing to take up the challenge to find the best "chili crisp." (Hint, hint)
Whycats (NYC)
@Liam go to Trader Joe's. Yummy and affordable.
RQ (California)
Trader Joe’s has a good chili crisp
CWL (Oakland, CA)
I try to stay out of small squabbles about food, but I have to speak up about this pasta recipe: It has nothing whatsoever to do with "classic" Fettuccine Alfredo except for the pasta. It's mind-boggling to even call it Alfredo. The name loses all meaning. It is not in any way a spicy pasta. And lastly, making a dish at home will almost always be cheaper than take out. So how is this a revelation? Bewildered.
I don’t think I have tried chili crisp before. But the idea of adding it to Alfredo sounds like an easy way to quickly change up the flavor of a staple. Last winter I discovered an umami topping in a jar— essentially crispy garlic and chili, in which I added a teaspoon on top of many different meals. Some good ones were ramen, congee, and Mac n cheese. I’ll have to try is with Alfredo! I just did a quick browse of Genevieve’s recipes in the Cooking app. So many delicious vegetarian and pescatarian options, plus desserts. Many with an Asian influence. Thanks!
Jorge Cornick (Costa Rica)
Eating a lot of simple carbs will make you feel even more tired. Low carb, high protein, high greens is the ticket if you want to feel less bloated and more energetic
Independent Observer (Texas)
@Jorge Cornick "Eating a lot of simple carbs will make you feel even more tired" My problem is eating a bunch of tired carbs makes me feel even more simple. :-)
Americana Music Fan (Roaming the West)
100 grams of saturated fat is a lot for a single dish, which, let's be honest, would probably serve four. Throw in your salad dressing and the butter from the garlic bread, heart attack city! No wonder they don't publish the nutritional information anymore.
Ahuva (10504 since 1989)
@Americana Music Fan 1. No one said anything about garlic bread. 2. The recipe makes 6 servings. That works out to 2 tsp of butter and 2.6 Tbl of cream. Far from a cardiologist's nightmare. 3. As for the salad, you can save additional calories by using a no-oil dressing.
Artie Ash (Connecticut)
It seems many recipes lately require trips to the supermarket or specialty market to purchase exotic ingredients one is unlikely to have on hand. How about some recipes that don't require so much getting and spending, or at least a clear list of substitutes. My supermarket in rural CT doesn't carry chili crisps and doubt it ever will.
Independent Observer (Texas)
@Artie Ash "My supermarket in rural CT doesn't carry chili crisps and doubt it ever will" Amazon is your friend.
There is a link for a chili crisp recipe, basically red pepper flakes, oil, dried minced onion, and salt and sesame seeds
Ahuva (10504 since 1989)
@Independent Observer Yeah. Bezos has enough money.
Paul (Brooklyn)
Ah Ms. Ko, getting back to basics, pasta, fairly easily to make and fairly inexpensive. My only comment would be to eschew some oil, chili, and easy on the Alfredo sauce to make it healthier, less calories and easier on the stomach like the first picture looks like.
Uhura (BZ)
I once worked in a fusion french restaurant where the kitchen staff was entirely latino. For staff meal sometimes, the kitchen would whip up a pasta alfredo tossed with steamed leeks, mushroom and baby squashes but hidden in the sauce must've been a heavy dose of cayenne. The combination blew my mind! I make it to this day. This rendition with the chili in oil might not be right for a sauce like alfredo but it's the right idea.
Spindrifter (New York)
Cayenne is spicy?
Mike S. (Portland, OR)
@Spindrifter Well, it's certainly hot, if you're trying to say it's hot rather than spicy. I would say it's both.
Jk (Cambridge)
grandfather. a professor on electrical engineering at mit alway found the marketing of name brand products as way both brilliant and horribly wrong in exploiting the fear of the consumer as being seen as low to buy generics.
N Chevy (nyc)
@N Chevy Don't pretend you don't understand the singular "they."
Genevieve (Oakland)
@KD Thank you!! Honestly, NYTimes, comments like N Chevy's regarding the kid's pronouns should be monitored and discarded.
@Genevieve Censorship is not a good answer to difference.
Sawsan (Brooklyn)
Overworked ? Underpaid in this failed state of capitalist delight? Make this pasta and shut up!
chrisinauburn (Alabama)
Both of my grandmothers, one Irish, and the other Polish, were named Alfredo, and they would not recognize their namesake.
Ahuva Greenblatt (North Castle, NY)
It's anything BUT Alfredo. It's like calling flavored vodkas and gins mixed with fruit juices, martinis. Yes it looks delicious but any resemblance to Alfredo is lost with the chili. Call it something new and be honest. Chilfredo. ALCRISPO.
Genevieve (Oakland)
@Ahuva Greenblatt It is referred to here as "Spicy Alfredo" (headline) and "Chile Crisp Fettucine Alfredo with Spinach" (name of dish in recipe).
Liam (Allston/Brighton, MA)
@Genevieve "Alfredo" infers a creamy, cheesy sauce. If there was any cream in this sauce, I suspect it would have a pinkish, muted orange color akin to a vodka sauce. I refuse to break down the paywall just to find out how little or no cream this recipe contains. A couple pinches of grated parm on top don't make it "Alfredo."
Liam (Allston/Brighton, MA)
@Liam I have been informed this recipe contains 1 cup of heavy cream. The picture hides it pretty well. Photoshop, maybe?
Molly Bloom (Tri-State)
Can the commenters recommend their store bought chili crisp? Tried many and have been disappointed. Thank you.
Liza R. (Somerville, MA)
@Molly Bloom Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp is excellent and available at pretty much any Asian supermarket.
Independent Observer (Texas)
@Liza R. "Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp is excellent and available at pretty much any Asian supermarket" Or Amazon, which offers next-day delivery in certain areas (like mine, for instance). :-)
DC Louise (Washington DC)
@Independent Observer Yes, yes: Lao Gan Ma.
Max Alexander (Rome, Italy)
The idea of ordering pasta Alfredo takeout would have Italians rolling on the floor. This dish, which Italians call “pasta in bianca,” is the fallback weeknight dish you whip up for your kids after working late. The tourist restaurant Alfredo pulled it from the children’s menu and convinced Americans it was “gourmet.”
Independent Observer (Texas)
@Max Alexander "This dish, which Italians call “pasta in bianca,” is the fallback weeknight dish you whip up for your kids after working late" I lived in Sicily for 7 years and definitely saw pasta with cream sauces on many menus (normally with prosciutto). However, in all if the dozens upon dozens of restaurants I lovingly attended, I never once saw it labeled as "Alfredo." I even had two different Italian friends ask me why Americans call that particular dish "Alfredo, " and one was actually living in Rome at the time. :-P
Carmela Sanford (Niagara Falls, New York)
@Max Alexander You write: “The tourist restaurant Alfredo pulled it from the children’s menu and convinced Americans it was ‘gourmet.’” Your information about Fettuccine Alfredo is utterly untrue. You can research the facts. Hardly a tourist restaurant that has in its name “dal 1914.” And, what’s wrong with tourists, especially those seeking an historic pasta dish? The ristorante still used the same aged parmigiano-reggiano and unsalted butter brands it has used for almost 100 years. And, importantly, Italians eat there, too. I know, because I’ve eaten with them.
Max Alexander (Rome, Italy)
Tourist restaurants can be old so the year of its founding is irrelevant. I live a three-minute walk from Alfredo. Yes, many Italians also go there, especially politicians as it’s close to the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. But it’s one of those places, like Roscioli and Sant’Eustachio, that always seem to be in the guidebooks and hence always attract tourists who go by the guidebook recommendations. The Alfredo dish was created with the foreign clientele in mind since Italians, as I previously noted, know this dish as what you serve your kids on a school night. They would hardly be impressed by Chef Alfredo’s “creation,” wherever his butter comes from.
St (Westbury)
Is there a cheaper substitute for heavy cream?
N Chevy (nyc)
@St Whole milk works pretty well. Not the same, but ok.
Independent Observer (Texas)
@St "Is there a cheaper substitute for heavy cream?" To quote Tom Cruise's Joel Goodson character from "Risky Business"(1983): "There is no substitute"
Ahuva (10504 since 1989)
@St Cheaper in dollar or calorie cost? In a word, no.
JC (Pennsylvania)
Not sure why so many people are obsessed with spicy food. Traditional fettuccine alfredo is wonderful.
VOTE BLUE (Seattle, WA)
@JC Because some of us want to feel that inner heat sneak up on us. Especially those of us with thyroid issues.
Independent Observer (Texas)
@JC Not sure why so many people are obsessed with people who are obsessed with spicy food. :-P
Gerda Bekerman (Up-State N.Y.)
@JC ... Variety is the spice of life !
Talia (Washington DC)
This looks divine and I will give it a go this weekend. As a NYT subscriber I believe the NYT Cooking section should be included. Make me happy!
Patricia (Tampa)
@Talia Agree!
Rune (Duluth, MN)
@Talia Agree - I do subscribe to NYT Cooking and it's easily worth the price, but what a meaningful gesture it would be at this inflationary moment for the Time to make this life-improving resource available to all subscribers!
Steve (NJ)
I now subscribe to NYT Cooking and while there are hundreds of great recipies there, they should at least allow all readers access to recipes they include in articles. It would drive me crazy reading an article and then clicking on the recipe only to be brough to the subscribe page. Ive written to them about this and gotten back their standard reply - pay us for it!
Rob (Southern Germany)
Oh, this sounds good, and I'd like to make it. But the link to the recipe points to a paywalled NYT cooking site, and as a digital subscriber to the NYT, I don't have access to it, so I didn't even bother clicking on the link. I know the score by now...
N Chevy (nyc)
@Rob Just make fettuccini alfredo and and chili crisp and spinach. In fact, make it and add whatever you want! I like a little crushed red pepper, maybe some shrooms, maybe some baby arugula thrown on the hot pasta, fresh, so it wilts without cooking the heck out of it... Go crazy!
Sara (Los Angeles)
$10 for a vegetarian pasta dish? Yikes. I don't understand this trend to douse everything with chilis. Whatever happened to subtle flavor?
JC (Pennsylvania)
@Sara Some people have eaten too many spicy foods thereby damaging their taste buds and they now require extreme flavors or can't taste anything. Crazy right. I am right there with you on the subtle flavor especially for traditional dishes like alfredo. No reason to reinvent something that was perfect to begin with.
Uncle B (Chicago)
@JC Adding the chile crisp is the only way you'd get me to eat fettucini alfredo - it is a great way to brighten up a very heavy dish. But if you don't like spicy, just make it the way you like it.
DNM (Durham NC)
It's nice that both choices exist. I enjoy subtle flavors, never bland, however I really like bold flavors, as do many global cultures.
MLeeP (Chattanooga)
I really enjoyed reading this tantalizing take on Alfredo -which, in my experience is inedible in 9/10 restaurants. Back in the 1980’s I devised my own super easy ‘man & cheese’ which consisted of hot pasta showered in decent Parmesan and black pepper (and a pinch of cayenne), with a bit of warm milk poured over. After eating this for some years I mentioned it to my dad who said, ‘That’s Milk Soup- My grandma used to feed me that when I was little and not feeling well.’ Hmm. My mom, who was dad’s wife, was Irish/English and all about hot buttered toast and hot, sweet tea for sick children. Perhaps I had an inherited memory. Of course Great Grandma Bertetto, from San Giusto Canavese, SW of Turin, was lighter on the pepper for a sick child…
Umm, why call this asian noodle dish Alfredo? I'm sure it's tasty but like she says Alfredo (the only true version is butter and parm.
Barking dog (New Haven)
The recipe includes 3/4 cup of parm and 4 T butter
Chris (NYC)
She discusses in paragraph 9.
Independent Observer (Texas)
@MR "the only true version is butter and parm" True version? Of so-called "Alfredo sauce?" Yeah, right.
x (WA)
It looks good, but it doesn't look creamy.
Dimitri (Astoria, NY)
Where is the actual recipe? Oh it's behind the NYTimes cooking section not available to NYTimes digital subscribers. Thanks.
Paul (Brooklyn)
@Dimitri Is The NY Times so sweet or these recipes so dear as to be purchased at the price of added fees? Forbid it almighty god, give me paywall access or give me death or at least the recipes for free. All jokes aside, I agree with you. The NY Times is iconic re newspapers but when it comes to incremental revenue like this they usually flame out. Let's hope this is the case here.
NYT Reader (Bay area)
If you enjoy this recipe, check out Ruby Tandoh's chili crisp gnocchi - same principles and highly delicious.
Margaret (Philadelphia)
"Less than $10 to make two servings"? More like, less than $10 to make the entire recipe, which serves 6. Although perhaps Ms. Ko and her high-schooler were very hungry and ate the whole thing, just the two of them.
MLeeP (Chattanooga)
Well yes…??
emily (SF)
Other than pizza (sometimes you just gotta have a pizza), I have totally given up on takeout. It never lives up to promise, it doesn't arrive hot and fresh, and it's so expensive. Fortunately I like to cook and am good at it, and I live in a city where it is easy to run out and grab an ingredient at the last minute. But yes please give us more recipes like this with a small number of ingredients and no prep time, so we can all give up takeout.
Tim (SF)
@Emily Me too here in SF. The restaurants pay a steep price for these delivery apps. Yes, other than a pizza (my place has its own delivery guy) I'm giving up on the takeout; cooking is more fun and more delicious.
MamaDoc (N.C.)
The first time I encountered an overpriced cup of coffee sticks vividly in my mind. I was somewhere in Europe when the dollar was particularly weak. I had the $10 for the coffee, but I didn't think I would get $10 of flavor from it. I feel the same way about restaurant prices today. Luckily, I'm a fairly proficient cook. Even better, new to me things like fish sauce or garam masala are easily accessible either online or at specialty food stores. If you aren't a proficient cook, cooking videos are SUPER to improve your technique. I also recall my elderly aunt telling me that when she was growing up they had one item for dinner most nights and that the ratio of food groups evened out over time. I cook almost all our meals at home. I have no problem making one item and following Julia Child's direction to use good ingredients and add butter.
N Chevy (nyc)
it sounds, and looks, delicious.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
@N Chevy I second that with 5 Yummies! To me, that's what comfort food looks like.
Julie (Newtown)
Why does it look red?
Karen Craddock (Washington)
@Julie the chili crisp makes it red.
Peter (Texas)
Remember those days when knock off cereal didn't exist?
Independent Observer (Texas)
Sounds great! Also, I highly recommend everyone follow the "Il Vero Alfredo" restaurant link and click on the "Go to Gallery" of celebrities on their webpage. There are dozens of priceless celebrity photos going back many decades. Really cool.
See also