Fettuccine-and-Asparagus al Burro

Al burro means "buttered." This simple sauce is a more authentic version of today's popular Alfredo, which calls for whipping cream. Buy a high-quality cheese--it makes a difference.

Fettuccine-and-Asparagus al Burro
Photo: Jennifer Davick
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
3 to 4 servings


  • 1 pound fresh thin asparagus

  • 4 to 6 oz. thick pancetta slices, diced

  • 1 (9-oz.) package refrigerated fettuccine

  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • Toppings: shaved Parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper


  1. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus. Cut diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

  2. Sauté pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until crisp; remove from skillet.

  3. Cook fettuccine and asparagus in boiling salted water to cover 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.

  4. Melt butter with oil in skillet over medium heat; add hot cooked pasta and asparagus, cheese, and next 3 ingredients. Toss to coat, adding enough reserved pasta water to make a glossy sauce. Remove from heat; sprinkle with pancetta. Serve immediately with desired toppings.

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