Whenever possible, keep things simple and loaded with saturated fat.

OK, this recipe for fettuccine Alfredo is easy enough to become a weeknight staple. With just four ingredients and about 20 minutes, you can have a breathtakingly good Alfredo on the table.

The trouble is, it involves a stick of butter and half a pound of Parmesan cheese. Granted, that’s how you know it’s going to be not just good, but amazing. But it’s also how you know it probably won’t be on your table that often. You’ll wish it could be.

This recipe, which is adapted from Saveur magazine, uses the heat of the pasta along with some of the starchy cooking water to turn the butter and cheese into a rich and creamy sauce.

FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

Two 9-ounce packages fresh fettuccine pasta

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces

3 1/4 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

Ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 200. Place a large oven-safe serving bowl in the oven to warm.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. When the pasta is finished, reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Remove the bowl from the oven. Place the butter in the bowl, then add the pasta. Using tongs or 2 wooden spoons, toss the pasta, melting the butter and mixing it with the pasta.

A bit at a time, add the cheese and the reserved pasta cooking water, continuing to toss until all of the cheese is added and melted. Season with pepper.

Nutrition information per serving: 640 calories; 313 calories from fat; 35 g fat (19 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 135 mg cholesterol; 46 g carbohydrate; 36 g protein; 2 g fiber; 1,106 mg sodium.