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Lemon Thyme and Wine Penne Pesce


On a long flight to Australia about 25 years ago, I sat next to an Italian restaurateur who owned a restaurant in New York.  He was flying from New York to Australia to see his son.  As I am very chatty, we quickly struck up a conversation and I asked him to recommend a fish recipe from his restaurant. He shared with me one of his favorite dishes — which was a fish with pasta.  That was the first time I heard that fish and pasta was a thing; I had always associated pasta with meat (think spaghetti bolognaise).  I created this dish from memory with some tweaks of my own. This fish and pasta dish is delicious.


Prepare the Fish

1. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and one tablespoon lemon pepper.
2. Coat fish in the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; working in batches if necessary, add fish. Cook for three minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Set aside.
4. At this point, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the Sauce

1. Over moderate heat, in the same saucepan, melt butter; then add flour to make a roux, stirring constantly until it thickens. The sauce will get thicker as it gets closer to boiling point.
2. Add white wine, thyme and lemon juice; add one teaspoon lemon pepper and salt to taste.
3. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens.

To Finish

1. Place cooked pasta in a large oven-to-tableware dish. Pour sauce over pasta and mix well.
2. Place fish on top of pasta and sprinkle with tomatoes and parsley; bake for 20 minutes, uncovered.


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