Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fettuccine until almost done, about 8 minutes. Add the asparagus; cook until it and the pasta are just done, about 4 minutes longer.
Drain the pasta and asparagus. Toss with the butter, cream, nutmeg, salt, pepper and Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.
Fettuccine Alfredo: Eliminate the asparagus.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Ham and Peas: Eliminate the asparagus. Add 1 cup frozen peas to the pasta during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Toss 1/4 pound of deli ham, cut into matchstick strips, with the remaining ingredients.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Fresh Mixed Herbs: Eliminate the asparagus. Toss in 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, and/or chives, at the end.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Parsley and Sage: Eliminate the asparagus. Toss in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and 1/2 teaspoon dried sage at the end.
Wine Recommendation: A forcefully acidic white wine is a natural with asparagus and will pierce the richness of the sauce. Try one of the sauvignon blancs from New Zealand or a vernaccia from Italy.