Good cheese key to pasta

January 23, 2013 

Fish fillets topped with melted Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese can be made in minutes using a microwave. Penne pasta tossed with fresh basil is a simple side dish. The secret to this recipe is using high-quality Parmesan.

The recipe calls for cooking the fish in a microwave oven. It can also be sauteed on the stove. Simply place a layer of tomatoes in a nonstick skillet and place the fish fillets over them. Cover with a lid and cook 8 minutes for a 1-inch thick fillet. Alter the time according to the thickness of the fillet, counting 8 minutes per inch.

HELPFUL HINTS

Nutrition: 561 calories per serving; 29 percent of calories from fat

Substitutions: Any short-cut pasta such as elbow macaroni or rigatoni can be used. Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of bought minced garlic.

To buy: 2 medium tomatoes, 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 2 (6-ounce) fish fillets, 1 box penne pasta

Staples: Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, black peppercorns

BASIL PENNE PASTA 1/2 cup fresh basil, torn into bite-size pieces

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 pound penne pasta, about 11/2 cups

Salt, freshly ground pepper

Bring a large saucepan with 3-4 quarts of water to a boil. Place basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Add pasta to boiling water and cook 10 minutes or until al dente. Remove 2 tablespoons of the pasta water to the bowl and mix with sauce ingredients. Drain pasta and add to bowl. Toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two dinner plates and top with fish.

Nutrition information per serving: 257 calories (19 percent from fat), 5.4 g fat (0.8 g saturated, 3.4 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 7.7 g protein, 43.6 g carbohydrates, 1.9 g fiber, 5 mg sodium. PARMESAN FISH FILLETS 2 medium tomatoes, sliced

2 (6-ounce) fish fillets such as tilapia, snapper, mahi mahi or sole

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings

1/2 cup basil, torn into bite-size pieces

Arrange tomato slices in a microwaveable dish in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Place fish fillets over the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with minced garlic and salt and pepper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave on high 5 minutes or until center of fillet is opaque. (Test after 3 minutes as microwave ovens have different powers.)

Remove from microwave, place cheese over fish and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 2 minutes, covered, before serving. Sprinkle basil on top. Serve fish over cooked pasta.

Nutrition information per serving: 304 calories (38 percent from fat), 12.9 g fat (4.0 g saturated, 7.0 g monounsaturated), 92 mg cholesterol, 40.0 g protein, 8.6 g carbohydrates, 2.4 g fiber, 252 mg sodium.

Makes 2 servings Makes 2 servings Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks, including “The Flavors of the Florida Keys” and “Mix ’n’ Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes.” Go to dinnerinminutes.com.

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