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Dinner in Minutes: Microwave cooks fish in flash

| Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 8:56 p.m.
Fish fillets topped with melted Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese can be made in minutes using a microwave. (C.W. Griffin/Miami Herald/MCT)

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 best-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 for 8 minutes for a 1-inch-thick fillet. Alter the time according to the thickness of the fillet, counting 8 minutes per inch.

Basil Penne Pasta

Water

½ cup fresh basil, torn into bite-size pieces

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

¼ pound penne pasta, about 1½ cups

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 257 calories, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 3 grams monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 8 grams protein, 44 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 5 milligrams sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is a food writer for the Miami Herald.

Parmesan Fish Fillets

2 medium-size tomatoes, sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 fish fillets (6 ounces each) such as tilapia, snapper, mahi mahi or sole

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings

½ cup basil, torn into bite-size pieces

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

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

Makes 2 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 304 calories, 13 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 92 milligrams cholesterol, 40 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 252 milligrams sodium

Hints

Any short-cut pasta such as elbow macaroni or rigatoni can be used.

The easiest way to chop basil is to cut it with a scissors. It is used in both recipes. Prepare at one time and divide accordingly.

Shave the Parmesan with a potato peeler.

Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of bought minced garlic.

Shopping list

To buy: 2 medium-size tomatoes, 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 2 (6 ounces each) fish fillets, 1 box penne pastaStaples: Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, black peppercorns

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