Fettuccine Alfredo is a variation on a classic and very simple Italian dish that has gone from the rustic farmhouses of rural Italy to being a dish that most people on planet earth have heard of and absolutely love, known as Fettuccine Al Burro.
However, the one that people end up making most of the time at home is that of Fettuccine Alfredo and if people are feeling particularly hungry or tired that day, they will make the dish from a jar they bought at the store.
Considering it is a comfort dish, it is something that many people who are gluten-free automatically become wary of. Since gluten can literally appear in almost any pre-made or traditional recipe, it is only natural to be wary after all.
But should you be? Does Alfredo sauce contain gluten? In this article, we seek to find this out.
What Is Fettuccine Alfredo?
Basically, Fettuccine Alfredo (or Al Burro) is when cooked Fettuccine is tossed with butter and Parmesan cheese in a bit of the pasta’s water while it is still hot.
As the cheese melts into the dish, it emulsifies and creates a creamy, rich sauce that coats each layer of the pasta.
This dish has been around for a very long time, which is probably due to the simplicity of the dish itself.
The idea of serving fettuccine with cheese and butter was first mentioned in the 15th century as ‘Macaroni Romaneschi’ or Roman Pasta by Martino da Como, meaning that a variation of the dish is at least 500 years old.
However, the version that sprung the modern one was given to us by Alfredo Di Lello, who began working in his mother’s restaurant in the 1890s.
Between 1907 and 1908, Alfredo invented the dish ‘Fettuccine Al Triplo Burro’ to try and entice his wife, Ines, to eat some food after she had given birth to their first child.
Once he had his own restaurant, the fame of the restaurateur and the dish spread quickly, beyond Rome and eventually beyond the borders of Italy. It became especially popular in the United States, with its large Italian Diaspora.
What Are The Most Common Ingredients In Fettuccine Alfredo?
Fettuccine Alfredo has taken on many forms in the years since its founding, with the more traditional meal staying within Italy.
However, since many expats found different food in the country they now lived in, or they couldn’t remember the recipe correctly, they made close approximations, which were different from the original.
This is especially true in America, where dishes are commonly altered to suit the taste of the party eating, to create interesting new fusion, or to create a whole new dish. This means that many people change what Fettuccine Alfredo or Al Burro is.
Common ingredients to add to an Alfredo sauce are heavy cream, nutmeg, chicken, shrimp, parsley, salmon, broccoli, and of course the dreaded minced garlic.
All these are generally considered sacrilege to the original dish, but they are all delicious in their own way and a way for people to connect with a cultural food while having fun.
Fettuccine Alfredo also comes in a common jar sauce known as an Alfredo sauce. This is normally a blend of cream, Parmesan cheese, butter, egg, and some spices – normally nutmeg – but depending on the company, you will have different ingredients included.
Is Fettuccine Alfredo Gluten-Free?
It depends, but often the answer is yes. If you are making the Alfredo from scratch at home, not only can all the ingredients of the sauce be gluten-free, but generally they are.
Butter and Parmesan cheese are gluten-free in general and if you are making the most common variations, then heavy cream, garlic, salmon, shrimp, chicken, nutmeg, and broccoli are gluten-free as well.
The only problem in the homemade version is the pasta itself. Pasta is normally made from durum wheat, which normally has a lot of gluten in it.
As such, you will either have to make your pasta fresh with gluten-free ingredients or you will have to buy gluten-free pasta.
Premade or store bought Alfredo might be a different story altogether. See, on the surface all store bought Alfredo sauce should be gluten-free, after all the ingredients used in it should be gluten-free in general.
The problem is that sometimes manufacturers add additives or chemicals to make food last longer or be better tasting, and one of them can contain gluten.
This is especially true for sauces they want to thicken, as gluten is great for that. As such, always make sure to cheat the labels and see whether something is actually gluten-free.
Gluten Free Fettuccine Alfredo Sauces
With that being said, there are a few store-bought Alfredo sauces that you can trust to be gluten-free when you have them, and they are here on this list:
- Bertoli – This Alfredo sauce contains no gluten ingredients and lists egg and milk as the only allergens.
- Boticelli – This Alfredo sauce contains no gluten ingredients and lists egg and milk as the only allergens.
- Vegan Valley – Their Cashew Cheese Alfredo sauce is gluten-free, but contains a few nuts.
- Newman’s Own – Their Roasted Alfredo sauce contains no gluten ingredients and lists egg and milk as the only allergens.
- Prego – Their home style Alfredo sauce, their Roasted Garlic Parmesan Alfredo Sauce, and their Four Cheese Alfredo Sauce contains no gluten ingredients and lists egg and milk as the only allergens.
- Rao’s – This Alfredo sauce contains no gluten ingredients and lists egg and milk as the only allergens.
If you are looking for store-bought Alfredo sauces and have a gluten intolerance, are gluten-free, or suffer from celiac’s disease, then these are the Alfredo sauces you should be buying in the store.
Alfredo sauce is traditionally made with butter and cheese, with a lot of variations, including cream and garlic.
Since none of these ingredients contain gluten, Alfredo sauce is generally gluten-free, always make sure to check the store-bought stuff before buying though as they might add gluten to thicken the sauce.