The Washington Post

Douglas Fir Fettuccine Alfredo

Douglas Fir Fettuccine Alfredo 4.000

Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Nov 27, 2020

This recipe for classic fettuccine al burro calls for using a sprinkling of the needles of a Douglas fir “as a wild alternative to rosemary.” Writer Sabra Boyd, who was homeless as a teenager, foraged in the woods for food and used to steep “piney tea to stay warm.” She still forages for this fir when making this dish at home. Fresh rosemary may be substituted.

Note: Before foraging for Douglas fir, or for any wild food, be sure you are properly identifying the plant. Not all plants are edible.

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound fettuccine pasta
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 cup (about 3 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced Douglas fir needles, divided (may substitute fresh rosemary)
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, for garnish (optional)


In a large pot of salted boiling water over medium-high heat, cook the pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the cheese and whisk until the cheese has melted.

Add 3/4 cup of the hot pasta water to the butter-cheese slurry, raise the heat to medium and whisk until the mixture is slightly reduced and uniform, about 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in additional starchy water 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste, and adjust the salt as needed. Add 1/2 teaspoon Douglas fir or rosemary and stir to combine.

Add the drained fettuccine to the saucepan; gently toss to combine.

To serve, divide among the plates and garnish with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon Douglas fir or rosemary. Top with a pinch of freshly cracked black pepper, if desired.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by Sabra Boyd.

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 399

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 29g 45%

Saturated Fat: 18g 90%

Cholesterol: 103mg 34%

Sodium: 404mg 17%

Total Carbohydrates: 21g 7%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 1g

Protein: 13g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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