As I type, there is a slight stinging sensation pulsating through my fingers. Oh, how I regret not wearing cooking gloves when I diced the two jalapenos 😦 You would think I learned my lesson from the last time I diced four jalapenos for my chicken tikka masala recipe and ended up spending the entire night tossing in bed and getting up to google home remedies. I learned that soaking your hands in cold milk provides some relief (albeit very temporary). At least, it’s not nearly as bad as last time. Note to self: buy cooking gloves.
After reading the paragraph above, it’s probably no surprise that this recipe is spicy. It calls for two jalapenos but if you’re not into spicy foods I suggest using one jalapeno, or even just half a jalapeno depending on your tolerance. As for me, two was just the right amount of heat.
- 2 1/2 cups gemelli pasta
- 1/3 cup margarine, melted
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 4 (4 ounce) tilapia fillets (I used a frozen package of tilapia which I thawed)
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (or 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream + 3 tablespoons of water for a lighter meal version)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 jalapeno peppers, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 (5 ounce) package baby spinach leaves
- 1 roma (plum) tomato, chopped
- Fill a large pot with water and 2 tsp of salt and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the pasta, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
- While the pasta cooks, combine the melted margarine and minced garlic in a shallow dish. Place the flour in another dish. Dip the tilapia filets in the garlic butter mixture and then immediately coat with the flour.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the fish in the oil until golden brown, turning once, about 2.5 minutes on each side.
- Pour the cream, lemon juice, and remaining garlic and margarine mixture into the skillet. Stir in the diced jalapenos, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until sauce has reduced slightly and fish flakes easily with a fork; about 2 minutes.
- Mix the baby spinach into the sauce and cook until wilted. Stir in the chopped tomato and the cooked pasta. Cook for an extra 3-4 minutes to warm up the pasta.
- Sprinkle a handful of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of each serving and heat in the microwave for 1 minute so that the cheese just melts. Enjoy!