If you really want to show Mom how much you care on Mother's Day, the recipe is pretty simple — carbs and fat.
After all, it's what the rest of us crave on special days. So why fuss with breakfast in bed (which inevitably spills, anyway), when you could just embrace the fatty-carby formula that is almost guaranteed to make the moms in your life happy? My favourite expression of this winning formula? Fettuccine Alfredo.
Not only is it rich and delicious, it's also fast and easy to make. And that means the kids can get in on the cooking action. The grating of the cheese, the cutting of the butter and the tossing of the shrimp are all tasks perfect for delegating to Mom's dearest little ones.
To gussy up this dish a bit, I added pepper-roasted shrimp, which are tossed in with the pasta just at the end. But if shrimp doesn't suit your mom, you could easily substitute chopped cooked (and hot) chicken breasts, crispy hunks (make them big) of bacon, or strips of smoked salmon.
Start to finish: 30 minutes
2 pounds raw, shelled extra-large or jumbo shrimp
Ground black pepper
16-ounce package fettuccine pasta
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces
3 1/4 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the oven to 400 F. Place a large stainless steel serving bowl on the oven's bottom shelf to warm. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While the water heats, pile the shrimp on the prepared baking sheet, then drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over them. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the shrimp liberally with pepper, then arrange in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just pink and firm.
While the shrimp cooks, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. When the pasta is finished, reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
Carefully remove the bowl from the oven. Place the butter in the bowl, then add the drained pasta. Using tongs or 2 wooden spoons, toss the pasta, melting the butter and mixing it with the pasta. Be careful of the hot bowl. A bit at a time, add the cheese and the reserved pasta cooking water (you don't need to use it all), continuing to toss until all of the cheese is added and melted. Add the shrimp and toss well. Season with pepper.
Nutrition information per serving: 720 calories; 300 calories from fat (42 per cent of total calories); 33 g fat (17 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 265 mg cholesterol; 64 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 41 g protein; 1,550 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at email@example.com