The Rise of Alfredo: A Historical Timeline from Italian Roots to a Beloved Dish in the Black Community


Alfredo sauce, with its silky texture and rich, cheesy flavors, has long been a comfort food favorite. Originating from the kitchens of Italy, this classic dish has traveled far and wide, becoming a beloved staple in the United States—particularly within the Black community. So, how did Alfredo sauce make its way from the charming alleyways of Rome to the heart of Southern cooking and beyond? Let's take a journey through time to unravel the rise of Alfredo.

The Italian Inception: Early 1900s

The story of Alfredo begins in Rome, Italy, at the restaurant of Alfredo di Lelio. In an attempt to create a dish that would please his pregnant wife, Alfredo combined butter, Parmesan cheese, and fettuccine pasta. Little did he know, he had just created a dish that would cross oceans and resonate with diverse communities.

Hollywood's Golden Endorsement: 1920s

Alfredo’s fettuccine became world-renowned after American actors Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford tried it during their honeymoon in Rome. They brought the recipe back to the United States, paving the way for Alfredo’s entry into American cuisine.

A New Home in America: 1940s - 1950s

After World War II, Italian cuisine began gaining popularity in America. Fettuccine Alfredo emerged as a luxurious dish served in Italian-American restaurants, captivating the palates of the elite.

Merging with Soul Food: 1970s - 1980s

During the 1970s and 80s, Alfredo started making appearances in home kitchens across the Black community. It wasn’t just confined to fettuccine anymore; variations using other pasta forms like penne and linguini started popping up. Cooks began adding protein like shrimp, chicken, or even crawfish, making it a versatile dish that could be adapted to fit the diverse culinary traditions of the Black community.

Hip-Hop and Pop Culture: Late 1990s - 2000s

The late 90s and early 2000s saw the rise of hip-hop culture, and Alfredo made its way into the lyrics and lifestyles of rappers and R&B artists. Lines about “Fettuccine Alfredo” in Jay-Z songs or references in Southern rap classics helped solidify Alfredo’s place in Black pop culture.

The Digital Age: 2010s - Present

Social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest made it easier for foodies to share recipes and pictures of their best Alfredo dishes. In the digital age, Alfredo not only became a dish to enjoy but also one to show off. And let's not forget YouTube cooking shows and TikTok tutorials that allowed home chefs to add their unique spin to this classic.

Southern Twist and Modern Adaptations

Now, Alfredo has been fully embraced and adapted by the Southern culinary landscape. Your grandma's Alfredo might feature a dash of Cajun seasoning, or perhaps it’s served alongside fried catfish. From Alfredo stuffed bell peppers to Alfredo pizza, the innovation is endless.


Alfredo sauce has made an incredible journey—from the trattorias of Rome to the heart and soul of Black and Southern kitchens. It's not just the rich, creamy texture or the savory, cheesy flavor that makes Alfredo special; it’s also the way it’s adapted, loved, and passed down through generations that makes it a cultural culinary phenomenon.

So, the next time you dig into a hearty plate of Alfredo, remember, you're not just enjoying a dish; you're partaking in a rich tapestry of history and community.

Ready to Cook Some Pasta?

If you're inspired and ready to whip up some pasta dishes of your own, don't miss out on my special pasta recipes that are bound to elevate your cooking game. Check them out here!


- Uncle Dibbz

1 comment


    With reference to your article I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather, who is the creator of “Fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”) in 1908 in the “trattoria” run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). This “trattoria” of Piazza Rosa has become the “birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    More specifically, as is well known to many people who love the “fettuccine all’Alfredo", this famous dish in the world was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio concerned about the lack of appetite of his wife Ines, who was pregnant with my father Armando (born February 26, 1908).
    Alfredo Di Lelio opened his restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome and in 1943, during the war, he sold the restaurant to others outside his family.
    In 1948 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 “Il Vero Alfredo” (“Alfredo di Roma”),  whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by me, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks  (in gratitude for the hospitality).
    See the website of “Il Vero Alfredo” for “Alfredo’s franchising in the world”.

    I must clarify that other restaurants “Alfredo” in Rome do not belong and are out of my brand “Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma”.
    The brand “Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma” is present in Mexico with a restaurant in Mexico City and a trattoria in Cozumel on the basis of franchising relationships with the Group Hotel Presidente Intercontinental Mexico.
    The restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo” is in the Registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence – section on Historical Activities of Excellence” of the Municipality of Roma Capitale.
    Best regards Ines Di Lelio



    Con riferimento al Vostro articolo ho il piacere di raccontarVi la storia di mio nonno Alfredo Di Lelio, inventore delle note “fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”).
    Alfredo Di Lelio, nato nel settembre del 1883 a Roma in Vicolo di Santa Maria in Trastevere, cominciò a lavorare fin da ragazzo nella piccola trattoria aperta da sua madre Angelina in Piazza Rosa, un piccolo slargo (scomparso intorno al 1910) che esisteva prima della costruzione della Galleria Colonna (ora Galleria Sordi).
    Il 1908 fu un anno indimenticabile per Alfredo Di Lelio: nacque, infatti, suo figlio Armando e videro contemporaneamente la luce in tale trattoria di Piazza Rosa le sue “fettuccine”, divenute poi famose in tutto il mondo. Questa trattoria è “the birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    Alfredo Di Lelio inventò le sue “fettuccine” per dare un ricostituente naturale, a base di burro e parmigiano, a sua moglie (e mia nonna) Ines, prostrata in seguito al parto del suo primogenito (mio padre Armando). Il piatto delle “fettuccine” fu un successo familiare prima ancora di diventare il piatto che rese noto e popolare Alfredo Di Lelio, personaggio con “i baffi all’Umberto” ed i calli alle mani a forza di mischiare le sue “fettuccine” davanti ai clienti sempre più numerosi.
    Nel 1914, a seguito della chiusura di detta trattoria per la scomparsa di Piazza Rosa dovuta alla costruzione della Galleria Colonna, Alfredo Di Lelio decise di aprire a Roma il suo ristorante “Alfredo” che gestì fino al 1943, per poi cedere l’attività a terzi estranei alla sua famiglia.
    Ma l’assenza dalla scena gastronomica di Alfredo Di Lelio fu del tutto transitoria. Infatti nel 1948 riprese il controllo della sua tradizione familiare ed aprì, insieme al figlio Armando, il ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” (noto all’estero anche come “Alfredo di Roma”) in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 (cfr. il sito web di Il Vero Alfredo).
    Con l’avvio del nuovo ristorante Alfredo Di Lelio ottenne un forte successo di pubblico e di clienti negli anni della “dolce vita”. Successo, che, tuttora, richiama nel ristorante un flusso continuo di turisti da ogni parte del mondo per assaggiare le famose “fettuccine all’Alfredo” al doppio burro da me servite, con
    l’impegno di continuare nel tempo la tradizione familiare dei miei cari maestri, nonno Alfredo, mio padre Armando e mio fratello Alfredo. In particolare le fettuccine sono servite ai clienti con 2 “posate d’oro”: una forchetta ed un cucchiaio d’oro regalati nel 1927 ad Alfredo dai due noti attori americani M. Pickford e D. Fairbanks (in segno di gratitudine per l’ospitalità).
    Desidero precisare che altri ristoranti “Alfredo” a Roma non appartengono e sono fuori dal mio brand di famiglia.
    Il brand “Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma” è presente in Messico con un ristorante a Città del Messico e una trattoria a Cozumel sulla base di rapporti di franchising con il Group Hotel Presidente Intercontinental Mexico.
    Vi informo che il Ristorante “Il Vero Alfredo” è presente nell’Albo dei “Negozi Storici di Eccellenza – sezione Attività Storiche di Eccellenza” del Comune di Roma Capitale.

    Grata per la Vostra attenzione ed ospitalità nel Vostro interessante blog, cordiali saluti
    Ines Di Lelio

    Ines Di Lelio

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