fettuccine zuffredo

Finding ourselves with about a pound of pasta sheets left over from a recent lasagna mission, we ran them through our electric motor driven pasta roller machine to flatten them first to the thinnest (most thin?) setting and then fettuccine-ize 'em. Finally fresh pasta for the mother-in-law who had been after us for some time for this. But how to match these magic carbohydrate ribbons with the creamy sauce they scream for without resorting to the classic but deadly alfredo sauce?

A little consultation with Marcella sparked memories of a heavenly zucchini carbonara-like spaghetti concoction served out of a rustic cave/bungalow/porchlike trattoria on the beach (Chiaia di Luna) at Ponza, our favorite Mediterranean getaway island near Rome. Unlike the fancy hotels in the port, recipes from this operation have a low probability of showing up in Gourmet magazine like the radicchio risotto we have already reported on, so we are their only hope for a promotional plug. [Not worth much.]

One minor problem. No zucchini on hand. A quick call to the brother-on-law before departure saves the day. He'd bring 'em along. We just happened to have a bunch of fresh basil going bad in the fridge, about a half a cup was salvageable. And fresh Italian parsley too. The only detail that remained: the choice of egg yolk salmonella evasion tactics. Cooking the beaten egg yolk in a béchamel (white) sauce would provide the cream sauce component of our dish.



1 lb fresh fettuccine
zucchini stuff
2 T olive oil, some white wine
4 medium zucchini, food processed finely
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped freshly ground pepper
salt to taste
cream sauce
2 T butter, melted
2 T flour
1 c lowfat milk
1 egg yolk
1/3 c freshly grated parmigiano
1/3 c freshly grated romano


  1. First food process the zucchini into mush and cook down for about 10 minutes in a large nonstick pot with the olive oil. They shrink by a factor of two in volume. Turn down the heat to low and add some white wine if too dry so it won't burn. Mix in the chopped basil and parsley. [We used the mezzaluna on them.]
  2. Beat the egg yolk with about 1/4 c milk and separately mix well the rest of the milk with the flour. Wisk the latter into the melted butter and thicken, about 5 minutes. Then wisk in the egg-milk mixture until smooth. Stir until the possible salmonella passengers are history. Reduce the heat.
  3. Meanwhile the pasta water is coming up to steam. When it starts rolling, dump in the fettuccine (preceded by the salt, which we never mention). It should only take a few minutes. Check for the al dente state. If you can time this so that the pasta is done roughly just after the sauce, so much the better.
  4. Drain the fettuccine but don't shake out the water. Pour immediately into the zucchini pot and mix it up. Then pour in the bechamel sauce and continue mixing. Finally the grated cheese joins the party. Serve immediately since it has a tendency to stiffen quickly if left to sit. Our guests were pleased.


  1. One danger of cream sauced pasta dishes, or in fact any sauced pasta dishes in America, is that they can often be described as "sauce with some pasta" instead of "pasta with some sauce." Moderation is not only healthy, it's in good taste. Don't overwhelm your pasta.
  2. Another simpler variation of this arose when bob was too lazy to do the bechamel sauce and we still had some panna da cucinare a lunga conservazione left from the summer trip to Rome (cooking cream in small nonrefrigeratable cartons that has a long but not long enough shelf life: it always ends up being expired by the time we use it up). 2 medium zucchini food processed with the grating tool, 1/2 large leek food processed normally and sauteed together in 2 T olive oil for some 10 minutes and then 200 ml of panna mixed in and heated, then the burner turned off awaiting the pasta. Since we used store bought fresh garlic-parsley fettuccine, we did not add garlic to the sauce. We did not drain the pasta too thoroughly so that it would add some liquid to the sauce when mixed together, with 1/2 c parmigiano mixed in as well, and served with freshly ground black pepper. Good. Probably the panna could be substituted by some other quick solution like light cream. Too bad to have to rely on fat.
fetzfrdo.htm: 8-aug-2001 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]