Thursday, May 20, 2010

Recipe: Tilapia with Balsamic Browned Butter and Creamy Farfalle with Bacon, Tomato and Peas

This week has been a use-what-I-have cooking week with a small trip to the grocery store. Usually, when I shop, I buy meats about once a month when it's on sale. Easy stuff like chicken and beef goes on sale fairly regularly, so I keep an eye out and stock up our freezer. Plus with a 1 year old, the quicker the grocery trips, the better!

On one of my quick trips, I wanted some fish. I usually go for shrimp or salmon, but thought I'd try something new. Tilapia was on sale. Sweet! $3.50 for two fillets! Done! Having never made tilapia before, I perused through some of my bibles and found a recipe that sounded cheap, easy, and tasty. Everything a mom could dream of, all in one. Lani and I love Rachael Ray (and so does my dad...but that's a story for a different day...haha!). But seriously, what's not to love?! Quick, cheap, tasty meals that you can usually complete while your munchkins are occupied with a single episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. If I have the forethought, I do some of the prep work in the afternoon while Will is playing or sleeping. Crying while I chop onions and other veggies is much easier to do uninterrupted. Then I just put them in the fridge until around 5:30pm when I start dinner. My 30 minute meal just went down to 20 minutes.

Rachael Ray's Tilapia with Balsamic Browned Butter and Creamy Farfalle with Bacon, Tomato and Peas

  • Salt
  • 1 pound farfalle, bow ties
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 5 slices center cut bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-3 grated garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 can San Marzano tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 4 tilapia fillets (6-8-ounces each)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 box frozen peas (10 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, shredded or torn
Heat a pot of water to a boil, salt the water and cook pasta to al dente.
Heat a deep large skillet with 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium-high heat. Add bacon and crisp 3-4 minutes. Add onions, garlic, bay leaf and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender but not browned, 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, crush them up with a wooden spoon and simmer 15 minutes on low heat.
Season the fish with salt and pepper. Dust fish with flour and shake off excess.
Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook fish 4 minutes on each side.
While fish cooks, stir peas into sauce, return to bubble and stir in mascarpone cheese. Adjust seasoning.
Remove fish from skillet to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Reduce heat to medium and add butter to pan. Brown butter, 2-3 minutes, stir in balsamic and simmer 1-2 minutes to reduce by half. Pour the brown butter and vinegar over fish.
Drain pasta, toss with sauce and wilt basil into pasta.
Serve fish with pasta alongside.

My Notes: I didn't have any mushrooms or mascarpone cheese. I also halved some of the ingredients since this serves 4 people and I only had 2 fillets for me and Hubby. I used a 14 oz can of tomatoes instead of a 28 oz. And since I didn't have mascarpone cheese, I used two spoonfuls of sour cream. I think I liked it better than if I would've used mascarpone cheese. Hubby said it was tasty and didn't even realize I used sour cream. The tilapia cooked perfect. It had a nice tasty crust on the outside and was tender and flaky on the inside. Will gobbled up at least a 1/4 of my fillet and two bowls of the pasta. Next time I'll definitely pick up 3 fillets instead of 2. The pasta was tasty and even with 1/2 the tomatoes, it still made enough for all 3 of our lunches today.

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