Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baked Tilapia with Creamy Basil Pasta

Words honestly cannot describe how much I love Pinterest.  I mentioned in this post from this weekend that Pinterest has saved my life when it comes to organizing ideas for my lessons, labs, classroom management policies, and classroom itself, but I also love my To Make board, where I can answer "What should we have for dinner tonight?" with a simple click of a button.  I actually pinned this recipe because of the sauce.  I tried to make an alfredo sauce in college, and it didn't come out too great.  When we decided to make this dish, I paired it with some pan seared tilapia and it was amazing!  I immediately fell in love with this recipe because of how easy it was and how quickly it came together.  My father had a birthday last week, so I decided to make him this dish for his birthday dinner (since he's not really a fan of sweets anyway).

You need to multitask a little when making this recipe.  To save time, I preheated the oven and set the water for my spaghetti at the same time.  Then, I prepped my fish and the other ingredients while everything was heating up.  I popped the fish in the oven and the spaghetti in the pot at the same time, and luckily they took about the same time to cook.  The sauce itself comes together in a matter of minutes.  It went from fridge to plate in about 30 minutes.  You really can't ask for better than that.

This pasta sauce would compliment chicken as well as a white fish.  Pair it with a salad and you have a quick and easy dinner to make during the week.  The cream sauce is definitely a once a week treat and I highly suggest pouring it over your fish as well as your spaghetti.  However, it's a treat that is certainly worth it, as evidenced by my family's empty plates.

Baked Tilapia with Creamy Basil Pasta
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 20 min

-      4 fillets of Tilapia, rinsed
-     2 tbsp olive oil
-     dash of salt and pepper, plus extra to taste for the sauce
-     ½ lb spaghetti
-     1 tbsp butter
-     3 garlic cloves, minced
-     1 tbsp flour
-     1 c milk
-     2/3 c half and half
-     1/2 c basil leaves, chopped
-     ¼ c grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with non stick aluminum foil.   While the oven is preheating, boil the water for the spaghetti.  Add in the noodles once the water begins to boil and cook for the time stated on the back of the box.  Coat the tilapia in olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in the oven once it reaches 375F.  Bake for 12 – 18 minutes and remove once the tilapia is white throughout and flakes apart easily when cut. 

While the tilapia is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter and garlic.  Cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds) and then whisk in the flour until it dissolves.  Let the roux cook for another minute and then add the milk and half and half, stirring constantly.  Allow the mixture to slightly thicken (about 8 minutes) and then toss in the basil and Parmesan.  The sauce won’t thicken completely until the cheese is added.  Add salt and pepper as desired.  When the spaghetti is done cooking, add it to the sauce and toss with tongs to coat the spaghetti evenly.  Serve immediately with the tilapia and pour extra sauce on top. 

Note: if making this recipe for 2 people, do not decrease the ingredients for the sauce.  

Sauce adapted from: How Sweet Eats

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