Total time: 20 minutes

Fettuccine alla Papalina

Fettuccine alla Papalina

Fettuccine alla papalina, so called after a dish created for a pope. The story goes that cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who soon after became pope Pius XII, had a request for something different, but, being himself a Roman,  a dish in the tradition of the typical Roman cuisine.

Probably the cook didn’t want to go crazy. What he came up with was a variation of the spaghetti alla carbonara easy to prepare and is a quick pasta recipe.

Some are of the opinion that the dish actually is a better more refined version. Substituting prosciutto to guanciale and parmigiano to pecorino, it certainly makes the dish more delicate. The addition of the cream makes it more luscious.

As usual, some carry on with experiments, adding peas, wine and who knows what else. But then it’s not the original fettuccine alla papalina.


Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/2 small onion finely chopped
  • 6 ounces prosciutto cut in thin strips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 ounces grated parmigiano
  • salt
  • black pepper



In a large pan, on low heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook until soft, but don’t brown. Add prosciutto, stir and let it go a minute or two without browning.

In the meantime, in a bowl, beat lightly eggs cream and parmigiano. Check for salt.

Toss the drained fettuccine in the pan with onion and prosciutto. Mix for the pasta to absorb flavors until hot at medium heat.

Then remove pan from heat and pour the eggs parmesan cream mixture in the pan and mix rapidly. Use a peppermill to add some black pepper. Mix again and serve immediately.

Note: fresh egg fettuccine would be best. Prosciutto cut in short strips, but a little thick. Have the eggs, cream parmigiano mixture at room temperature, so the pasta won’t cool too much.

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