null Skip to Main Content
Timber 2 Table - Italian Style Fettuccine Alfredo with Turkey Tenderloin

Ditch the heavy cream and go with the original Italian version of this classic pasta recipe as a base for your next wild turkey dish

Italian Style Fettuccine Alfredo with Turkey Tenderloin

30 Min

Prep Time

30 Min

Cook Time



Easy, Medium


When you think of fettuccine Alfredo, you probably think of a pasta coated in a blend of heavy cream, butter and cheese. Over the years, that has become the most popular American version. But the original dish, first cooked up by Italian restaurateur Alfredo Di Lelio, didn’t have any heavy cream at all. The dish’s creamy sauce was simply made by stirring the noodles with plenty of melted butter and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The chef wasn’t trying to create a classic recipe at the time. He was trying to entice his wife, Ines, to eat after she had given birth to their first child, Armando, in 1908. Legend has it that she loved the recipe and requested it so often that Alfredo began to offer it in his restaurant.

Image: ImageBy_Michael_Pendley_turkey_fettucinne-8

The original Alfredo recipe had no heavy cream, relying solely on good cheese, butter and a bit of pasta water to make the sauce.

I like to go back to the roots of this recipe the way it was originally made, then top it with bits of wild turkey tenderloin that has been sautéed with a blend of fresh herbs. With a sauce that contains only two ingredients, it’s important that those components be of the absolute best quality.

Image: ImageBy_Michael_Pendley_turkey_fettucinne-1

With a sauce this simple, high-quality ingredients like real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese are important.

Go with high-quality butter and real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that you grate yourself. The same goes for the pasta. If you can find or make fresh noodles, go that route. If you can’t, a good-quality dried fettuccine will work.

Image: ImageBy_Michael_Pendley_turkey_fettucinne-4

Use fresh pasta when available.

Grate the cheese before starting the cooking process. Add 6 quarts of water to a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the water and bring it to a boil.

Image: ImageBy_Michael_Pendley_turkey_fettucinne-6

Freshly grating the cheese adds more flavor than pre-grated can offer.

Remove the tendons from a pair of turkey breast tenderloins and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces.

Image: ImageBy_Michael_Pendley_turkey_fettucinne-3

Trim away the tendons before cutting the turkey tenderloins for maximum tenderness.

Start by heating a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, to flavor the oil and soften the garlic.

Image: ImageBy_Michael_Pendley_turkey_fettucinne-2

Fresh herbs and garlic offer more flavor than dried.

Add the wild turkey. Cook for 6-8 minutes or until the turkey is just cooked through but not overcooked and dry. Add the fresh herbs, stir to blend, and move the skillet off the heat.

Image: ImageBy_Michael_Pendley_turkey_fettucinne-5

Sauté the turkey until just cooked through, but take care not to overcook and dry it out.

While the turkey cooks, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook 7-9 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve a cup of the pasta water.

Cut the butter into pats and add it to a large bowl or deep platter. Transfer the cooked pasta to the bowl with the butter. Top the pasta with about half the grated cheese and add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water. Use a large fork and spoon to toss the pasta, blending the melting butter and cheese into a sauce.

Image: ImageBy_Michael_Pendley_turkey_fettucinne-7

Toss the freshly cooked pasta with cheese and butter to form the sauce.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of cheese for serving. Continue to add the remaining cheese, tossing continuously as you do, until all of the cheese has melted into a creamy sauce that evenly coats the pasta. You can add more pasta water, if needed, for a creamier sauce.

Transfer serving-sized amounts of pasta to warm plates, then top with the cooked wild turkey. Garnish with reserved cheese and fresh herbs, if desired.


2 turkey tenderloins or ½ of a side of a wild turkey breast, tendons removed and cut into ½-inch pieces

1 pound fresh or dried fettuccine noodles

½ pound (about 3 ½ cups) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 2 tablespoons reserved

Olive oil for sautéing

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

½ pound (2 sticks) high-quality unsalted butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Exit off-canvas