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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!

About ToothsomeTwosome

Love to cook and eat! Dream Job: hosting Woman v. Food. I know Food Network tried this out but they didn't have the right girl for the show...hint hint. Favorite condiments: sriracha, kimchi, pickled jalapenos

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