Fettuccine And Peas In A Prosciutto Cream Sauce

I have had a love affair with pasta since my first trip to Rome. Naturally I ate spaghetti with meat sauce and macaroni and cheese growing up in Texas but no one called it pasta. I discovered pasta on an American Express tour of Europe. You know the one where you are on a bus and whisked from country to country.

Our tour spent two nights in Rome and one evening we were free to do as we pleased. I was traveling alone and had a letter of introduction from a friend who was an Admiral in  the “Third and Honorary” Texas Navy. He had given the owner of a restaurant in Rome a certificate from the Governor of Texas, making him on Honorary Texan. I didn’t know anything about the restaurant other than my friend said the owner loved Texans and  would make sure that I had a good time and a very delicious meal. Little did I know that this restaurant is where fettuccine all’ alfredo was made famous.

I was welcomed by the owner and told that he would take care of my meal personally. Sitting by myself and sipping a glass of wine, this young Texas girl who had never been out of the country had no idea what to expect. First musicians came over and played The Eyes of Texas (in an Italian restaurant in Rome). Everyone in the restaurant was looking at me…wondering why they weren’t playing some Italian love song. All of the sudden a cart was pushed over with owner following. My dinner was being prepared table side. A large platter with a mound of melting butter was tossed with paper thin fettuccine and lots of grated parmesan cheese. The constant tossing mixed everything into a lovely creamy consistency. This large platter was placed in front of me along with the gold fork and spoon that was used to toss everything together.

The owner explained that in the late 1920’s actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks ate at the restaurant and loved this pasta dish so much that they presented Alfredo di Lelio (the original owner) with the gold fork and spoon that I was now eating with. How could anyone not fall in love with pasta after that experience…especially fettuccine.

Fettuccine And Peas With A Prosciutto Cream Sauce

Since it is spring, my pasta dish was inspired by all the green seedlings that I am growing. The cream sauce is prepared with prosciutto for a salty taste and peas for a sweet taste. Fettuccine is tossed in the sauce and fresh pea shoots are added at the end for a real touch of spring.

Fettuccine And Peas In A Prosciutto Cream Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. finely minced onion or shallot
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 2 slices prosciutto, diced
  • 1 c. cream (half and half may be used)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 c. frozen peas, defrosted
  • 12 oz. dried fettuccine
  • a large handful of fresh pea shoots plus more for garnish

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.

In the meantime, in a large sauté pan heat the butter and oil until just sizzling. Add the onion and sauté until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the prosciutto and cook for an additional minute. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the cream and pepper and let simmer until slightly thickened. Add the cheese, stir to combine and keep warm. If sauce becomes too thick, thin with a little milk.

When the pasta is cooked to  just al dente, drain and add to the prosciutto cream sauce. Add the peas and let simmer until peas are warmed through and tender. Add a handful of pea shoots (reserve some for garnish) and gentle toss and plate your dishes. Sprinkle with a little extra cheese and garnish with additional pea shoots.

Serve with extra grated cheese at the table.

The vibrant color of the peas and pea shoots just speak of spring to me. I love the flavor combination of the sweet peas along with the salty prosciutto and cheese in the cream sauce. It is a cream based sauce but as you can see from the photo it is light enough to still taste the delicate flavor of the spring peas and shoots.

Buon Appetito!

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

165 thoughts on “Fettuccine And Peas In A Prosciutto Cream Sauce

  1. Dirty tricks, Karen, putting a recipe for a gorgeous plate of food first thing in the morning. It looks fantastic. I’m starved. And I love the background story to this. How wonderful to be treated so royally. I can see where your love of travel began……

    1. Hi Sue, I know that it is early for a bowl of pasta. I’m sure that this is a recipe that you can prepare with wonderful fresh peas from your garden. You are right…that is where my love of travel began.

      We are the grandchildren of Alfredo Di Lelio (Alfredo and Ines Di Lelio). The story is this. Alfredo di Lelio opened the restaurant “Alfredo” in Rome nel 1914, after leaving his first restaurant run by his mother Angelina Rose Square (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Deaf). In this local fame spread, first to Rome and then in the world of “fettuccine all’Alfredo”. In 1943, during the war, Di Lelio gave the local to his collaborators.
      In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando (Alfredo II) his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 “Il Vero Alfredo”, which is now managed by his nephews Alfredo (same name of grandfather) and Ines (the same name of his grandmother, wife of Alfredo Di Lelio, who were dedicated to the noodles).
      In conclusion, the local Piazza Augusto Imperatore is following the family tradition of Alfredo Di Lelio and his notes noodles (see also the site of “Il Vero Alfredo” info@alfredo-roma.it)
      Best regard Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio

    1. Hi Tania, Thank you for your nice compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the story. The experience was one I won’t forget. I agree about peas and prosciutto going so well together.

    With reference to “fettuccine all’Alfredo” we have the pleasure to tell you the history of our grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, creator of this recipe in the world known.
    Alfredo di Lelio opened the restaurant “Alfredo” in Rome nel 1914, after leaving his first restaurant run by his mother Angelina Rose Square (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). In this local spread the fame, first to Rome and then in the world, of “fettuccine all’Alfredo”. In 1943, during the war, Di Lelio gave the local to his collaborators.
    In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando (Alfredo II) his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 “Il Vero Alfredo”, which is now managed by his nephews Alfredo (same name of grandfather) and Ines (the same name of his grandmother, wife of Alfredo Di Lelio, who were dedicated to the noodles).
    In conclusion, the local Piazza Augusto Imperatore is following the family tradition of Alfredo Di Lelio and his notes noodles (see also the site of “Il Vero Alfredo” http://www.alfredo-roma.it/)
    Best regards Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio

    1. Hello Alfredo and Ines, It is so nice to hear from you. The experience that I had at the restaurant was truly memorable. Not only was the food delicious but I was treated like a very special guest. Actually, more like a member of the family. Hopefully, I will get a chance to return again.

    2. We escuse for repeating the History: Thanks for your comments:.I am waiting you in our restaurant “Alfredo” in Rome, Piazza Augusto Imperatore. Best regards Alfredo e Ines Di Lelio

  3. What a wonderful story. And I’m really smiling over the fact that they played that music for you. Fabulous! And this dish looks wonderful. I’ve always been a fan of peas with pasta. If I hadn’t just come off a weekend of creamy quiches and creamy stratas, I’d make this tonight.

    1. Hi Lea Ann, I was so surprised when they played a song about Texas in Rome…it was a wonderful evening. Eat healthy meals all week and go for the recipe next weekend. LOL

    1. Hi Mandy, Thank you for your love comment. It is one of those experiences that lasts a lifetime. I love pasta and peas…simple but delicious.

    1. Hi Claire, Thank you for your lovely compliment. Remembering that experience in Rome always makes me smile. The fettuccine and peas was delicious…especially with the tender pea shoots.

  4. Looking good again, Karen … I do this dish time to time … love pea and pasta. Exact like your recipe, but I use normal bacon – warm smoked! This is spring for me.

  5. Isn’t the service extraordinary in Italy? I have similar memories of such Five Star service while enjoying some simple wine and cheese in Florence. It’s going to be near 90 degrees in New York today. Not exactly a pasta day, but I’m craving it already!

    1. Hi T.W., Thank you for your nice comment. Yes…you can get the most wonderful service in Italy, actually most of Europe. We are going to have the same hot weather here in New Hampshire today as well.

  6. Please delete the previous comment, as my keyboard seems a little cranky this morning here in Mexico. I meant to say I loved the story and the great photo. The pea shoots are a nice touch. Sometimes I use some fresh lemon zest if I am having guests who don’t eat peas…..Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hi Reg, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I like adding lemon zest to pasta as well. No problem…I deleted your other post. Spell check can give me a fit sometimes…correcting words that don’t need correcting or changing the word entirely. I don’t see it until after I hit publish.

  7. What a fantastic story and how lovely that you have a message from one of the family too. And finally, a fantastic recipe. Quite frankly I could eat pasta any time of day! This looks so full of lovely delicate flavours.

    1. Hi Tanya, Thank you for your lovely compliment. I was thrilled to see the message for one of the family. That just makes the memory more special.

  8. Ah yes, the Italians understand hospitality and loving someone with food–and easy food to fall in love with too! My husband doesn’t like peas, no matter how fresh, plump, and beautifully spring green they are, so I will have to imagine the sweet tender pop of each one in the silky sauce. Look delicious!

    1. Thank you July for your nice compliment. The family certainly did treat me wonderful. The meal and experience is something I won’t forget. It is funny that some people don’t like the texture of peas. I’m like you, I love their sweet taste and pop.

    1. Thank you Mad Dog, for your nice compliment. It was a wonderful experience on my first trip to Europe. I always enjoy pasta and peas.

    1. Thanks Meg. I have wonderful memories from traveling but some seem so special. The memory of that pasta dish and the way it was presented will never be forgotten.

  9. Lovely dish and lovely story and I too love pea shoots… When I’m pinching out the pea plants in the garden, I happily eat the shoots there and then so only some make it inside to the kitchen!!

      1. I always enjoy dear Karen, you are so nice blogger and always there is something so interesting and so beautiful… You are welcome and Thank you, Love, nia

  10. What a gorgeous pasta dish. I’m especially impressed by the fresh pea shoots. 🙂 Now, I want to go out and buy some prosciutto and fresh romano cheese to shave over my own dish of fettucine alfredo.

    1. Hi Boleyn, Thank you so much for your nice compliment.The pea shoots are delicate and delicious. I hope you will enjoy your pasta dish.

    1. Thank you Rosemary, for your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. The owner treated me like someone famous…it certainly impressed a young girl on her first trip to Italy.

    1. Hi Connie, Thank you for stopping by and your nice compliment. Memories of that meal in Rome will never be forgotten. The saltiness of the prosciutto goes so well with the sweetness of the peas.

  11. What a great post, Karen, recounting such a wonderful memory! Love that the family contacted you, too. We serve a similar pasta dish in the Spring and, for me, you just cannot go wrong with pasta and prosciutto. 🙂

    1. Thank you John, for your nice compliment. I was so surprised that the family contacted me. It is a special restaurant that I will always remember. I totally agree about prosciutto…it adds wonderful flavor to a pasta dish.

  12. Hi, Karen.
    You may make a convert out of me yet! 🙂 Fettucine never appealed to me and the ones I’ve tasted (North American) always left me with a heavy, bland feeling. And sadly, I never tried it when I was in Italy. Anyway, this sounds amazing! I may have to cook this soon! Your story behind this dish resonated with me as well. Lovely! Lovely! Lovely!

    1. Hi Tess, Thank you so much for your lovely compliment. Look for the thinnest fettuccine that you can find. If it is too thick, pasta can be heavy. The meal that I had in Rome was so special…I won’t ever forget how lovely I was treated.

  13. What a wonderful story! This looks like a delicious meal and I can’t wait for my peas to pop through the ground. I love pea shoots!

    1. Thank you Susan for your nice compliment. I have such fond memories of that meal in Rome. Pea shoots are delicious and really added a nice touch to this dish.

  14. I love proscuitto! I’m glad you found a great way to use it! So full of flavor, yet so delicate and lovely. And pasta in Italy, just amazing, isn’t it? The best pasta dish I’ve ever had was so simple, but delicious in Florence!

  15. What a wonderful recipe, Karen. It just sounds warm and inviting…much like your experience in that lovely Italian restaurant. The other guests in the restaurant must have wondered who is this American celebrity that the musicians would serenade with The Eyes of Texas! That they even knew it is quite something! All I know is that I think I could live on pasta, so this is just a great recipe! Yum! Debra

    1. Thank you Debra, for your nice compliment. I thought the same thing…if your not from Texas most people have never heard the song. I’m sure people were wondering who I was…just a young girl from Texas out in the big world for the first time. I’m glad that you like the recipe…I think it is really good.

  16. That’s a fantastic story :). I simply adore pasta and seeing two fettuccine posts today has made me happy. This one was wonderful – the peas make it perfect for this time of the year.

    1. Thank you frugal, for your nice compliment. The memory of that meal in Rome will always be with me. Peas and springtime just seem to go together.

    1. Thank you Jed, it was a great weekend…I hope yours was as well. I’m glad that you like the recipe which you can always adjust for a manly appetite.

  17. What a great story!! You ate with “the” gold fork and spoon…how cool is that? Sadly, I am not a pea fan but I can see trying this with asparagus tips–wouldn’t necessarily be sweet but it would be yummy. I think you need to write a travel cookbook and feature little stories like this peppered with your recipe versions of the food you have eaten everywhere. ~~Bliss

    1. Thank you Bliss, for your nice compliment. Asparagus would be very good prepared the same way. You are too kind with your comment about a book.

      1. I was very serious. It would be fabulous. And you could dedicate it to me if you wanted to. ; )

    1. Hi Sam, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your very nice compliment. I’m happy that you enjoy the blog…food and travel are dear to my heart.

    1. Hi Smidge, Yes…a thank you from the actors for the pasta that Alfredo made for them. It was a special evening that I will always remember. This is a nice dish to enjoy in the spring with its lovely green color, sweet peas and shoots.

      1. Smidge, I don’t think you will have a problem finding the pea shoots if my market carries them. They come in a plastic box which keeps them nice.

  18. Great story, Karen. Eating the true fettucini Alfredo, with butter and cheese, or embellished further with peas and prosciuitto is a revelation–nothing like the thick heavy cream sauces that have been made by many.

    1. Thank you Nancy for your nice compliment. This really isn’t a thick heavy sauce…it’s light enough so that the sweetness of the peas comes through. I’m glad that you enjoyed the story.

  19. Hi Karen, Thank you for finding my blog and for your recent visit! Your blog is beautiful, I love the way it’s organized. We probably don’t live far from each other, I’m on the NH line in MA! We also spend our summers in OOB, Maine! Like you I love to garden too. It was really nice to meet you and I’ll be back!

    Have a great week!

    1. Hi Mary, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. We really must live close to each other, I’m just north of Plaistow, N.H. and our cottage is on Long Lake in Naples, Maine. We have probably passed each other on the Maine Turnpike. LOL.

  20. What a fantastic story Karen, with the gold spoon and fork! Your adaptation has captured the simplicity of the dish with your own crowning touches of green,. i love the way you cook, it is so .. i don’t know.. real, accessible, doable.. c

    1. Thank you Celi, for your very kind comment. My experience of having a delicious pasta under such wonderful circumstances will never be forgotten. I really appreciate that you enjoy the way I cook. I do hope that most people will think that my recipes are doable…that is a great compliment.

    1. Thank you Daisy, for your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed my story of discovering what true pasta was all about. This recipe is very nice…I hope you give it a try

  21. What an amazing story! That had to have been an amazing trip. Can’t wait to see what other inspirations you whip up once the spring and summer harvests start 🙂 ~Ruth

    1. My first trip to Europe opened my eyes to so many wonderful foods that I had never experienced. Travel is so much more than just visiting beautiful and historical parts of the world. The foods of other lands let us learn about the culture and traditions of people that live in those unfamiliar countries.

    1. Hi T.W., I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You really should try using prosciutto in some recipes. It adds a wonderful flavor to this dish.

  22. What an incredible story and memory, Karen! I can see how that would set the tone for all future food adventures. Your pasta is lovely, spring on a plate. A good Alfredo styled sauce is one of my faves and hard to beat.

    1. Thank you Betsy! I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I do think this pasta dish is spring on a plate with its vivid green peas and shoots.

  23. What a lovely story, Karen. You reminded me of an old movie with Suzanne Plaschette called If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969). My husband went on one of those bus tours in the early eighties, the food was mediocre; but like you he did find a few good places on the nights that were free!

    1. Hi Eva, I glad that you enjoyed the story. When you travel through Europe on a bus tour, you don’t get much of a chance to explore the cuisines of the countries that you visit. It was nice to have some free time to discover new foods.

  24. Mmm… Love fettuccine. It’s one of my fave. type of pasta. My hubby cooks his Alfredo similar to yours and it is always a big hit. We are lucky because we have a pasta shop close to where we live that sells fresh Fettuccine made with fresh eggs. They make really good agnolotti too. Really like the thought of the addition of peas. Will have to give that a try the next time we cook it.
    Love the backstory with the recipe as well… 🙂

    1. Hi Vivien, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice comment. You are indeed lucky to have a shop close by that makes fresh pasta. Do try adding peas and prosciutto to your recipe next time…I think you will enjoy it.

  25. What an experience! You must remember every single detail of the meal for the rest of your life (I would!). This pasta plate looks fabulous. So fresh and seasonal! I often use frozen peas with pasta or rice. I love their taste and they are also a wonderful plate filler (this way I don’t exaggerate with carbs and/or calories). I have already made pasta with peas and cooked ham, but never with dried ham (by prosciutto you mean dry ham?). I must try your recipe one day.

    1. You are right Sissi, I will never forget my dinner at the restaurant in Rome. Yes…dried ham like Prosciutto de Parma, Jambon de Bayonne or something similar. I think you will enjoy the recipe.

    1. Thank you very much, Giovanna. I’m glad you think my pasta dish is worthy of a gold fork and spoon. It really was an amazing experience and one that I will never forget.

  26. it was pleasure reading through your beautiful memories, I too love to dine in a heritage resto and the way you have describe…playing music sounds so exotic. Rome is on my list and so I bkmrk the resto too. and I love a good pasta dish and it has written spring all over it…on my dinner menu

    1. Thank you Sukanya, for your nice comment. I am happy that you enjoyed my memories of the restaurant in Rome. I hope you will enjoy my springtime recipe.

    1. Hi Belleicious, I read and answer every comment no matter what number you are. I am very happy that you love the recipe! Thank you for your comment and patience. If it makes you happy…you are not at the end of the list.

  27. I think travelling gives you a whole new perspective regarding how you approach things! The story was amazing and I believe the whole Europe tour left you with so many experiences and icons! Your dish truly cherishes the moments you spent in that restaurant in Rome!

    1. Thank you Katerina, for your lovely compliment. The experiences from traveling really do give you a whole new outlook on life and what it has to offer. The cuisines from every country I have visited over the years has influenced my tastes and cooking.

  28. What a wonderful story and this looks like an amazing dish. I’ve only had one truly memorable fettuccine al’fredo & believe it or not it was in Reno, Nevada. But done at tableside also and exceptional.

    1. Hi Diane, Thank you for stopping by and leaving your nice comment. Not many restaurants prepare dishes table side anymore. A couple of years ago Felida in NYC prepared a wonderful pasta dish table side and it was great.

  29. Karen, this pasta dish looks delicious…love the creamy sauce, especially with prosciutto.
    Thanks for this recipe and hope you are having a great week 🙂

    1. Thank you Cucina, for your nice compliment. I’m glad that you like my springtime pasta dish. Even though it is made with cream, it is a light sauce that will not overpower the peas and shoots.

  30. What a wonderful story and unforgettable introduction to fettuccine alfredo. Your recipe sounds wonderful. My daughters would love this, and so would my oldest granddaughter. Hmmm, thinking this may run in the family…..

    1. Hi Chick, I know you must have had a wonderful time visiting Rome…it is such a wonderful city. I’m glad that you like the recipe.

  31. Oh Karen.. I love this fettuccine dish. I am such a huge fettuccine person, so I was happy with this recipe of course. I think I would love to add some shrimp into this.. what do you think? Love this

    1. Hi Kay, Nice to know that you are another fettuccine lover like I am. I think that the flavor of the shrimp might overpower the flavor of the delicate pea shoots. I would certainly be interested to know how it turns out, if you add the shrimp…it could be terrific.

    1. Thank you Laura for your visit and nice comment. The pea shoots added a lovely delicate taste to the dish and are very pretty on the dish.

  32. “I have had a love affair with pasta since my first trip to Rome”

    Ha, I’ve had a love affair with pasta and I’ve never even been to Italy… you can imagine how much trouble I’d be in if I went there 😀

    I love peas with pasta… They’re not used together nearly enough as they should be – delicious looking meal Karen!

    1. Hi Charles, I think you might be in trouble when you get a chance to go to Italy. If I didn’t have thousands of miles between my home and Italy, I’d be making dinner reservations right now. Thanks Charles…I’m glad you liked the looks of this recipe.

  33. I did one of those bus tours ages ago too! I don’t think I’d do one again, but it was a fabulous way to see a lot of Europe straight out of college. 🙂 And I too have a love affair with pasta. The prosciutto cream sauce sounds wonderful.

    1. Hi Kristy, I think the bus tours are a nice way to go for your first time. It lets you get an overview of what Europe is all about. I’m so happy that I have been lucky enough to return, seeing Europe at a slow and leisurely pace. Renting a car lets us experience all the out of way places. I’m glad that you like the prosciutto cream sauce…it has a lot of flavor.

  34. That is simply delicious to look at – I bet it’s delicious on the taste buds too! Love your story – made me reminisce about my first times in Europe. Can’t beat those traveling days of our youth!

    1. Hi Linda, Thank you for your very nice compliment about the pasta dish. Traveling to Europe while young certainly did inspire my love of traveling in latter years. I’m glad the post brought back good memories for you as well.

    1. Hi Marietta Momma, Thank you so much for your nice compliment. If you are going to cheat on a delicious meal…this would be a good one.

  35. When I saw the photo, I knew I would love the recipe, but when I read the story…I just loved it even more and when I read thru the comments to find the comment from the family…WOW!
    Pasta +cream and/or cheese definitely equals a love affair for me! But your pea shoots make it really special.
    PS start writing that book!

    1. Thank you Carol, for your very nice compliment. I was so surprised when I got the comment from the family. I really have no idea how they found out about my post but it was nice that they stopped by. The pea shoots added a nice delicate flavor to the dish.

  36. Karen, I tried this recipe and it was delicious. Next time I’d go for full cream, as the half and half separated and didn’t look very nice, but the taste was great. I had to skip the pea shoots as this was a week-night meal and I couldn’t wait for the farmers market to open. If I mention this in my blog I’ll just link back to you – your story, recipe and photos are lovely. Terri

    1. Hi Terri, Thank you for taking the time to let me know you tried the recipe and enjoyed it. I have had half and half separate on me sometimes as well. I know that cream has a few more calories and fat but it is sometimes worth it when cooking certain dishes. Thank you for your lovely compliment…I really appreciate it.

      1. You’re welcome. I’m amazed how many recipes I’ve tried from blogs that I follow. I feel like you get to know people’s tastes from their posts, and it’s such fun to share good food!

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