When I opened up the most recent issue of Catholic Digest, I was delighted to see several meatless recipes for Lent. I picked this one to make for Ash Wednesday:
BLACKENED TILAPIA WITH FETTUCCINE ALFREDO
2 teaspoons paprika (I always use smoked paprika)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 tilapia filets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 pound fettuccine (plus a little gluten free pasta for myself)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
FETTUCCINE: Bring pasta pot to boil and add fettuccine. Follow directions for pasta. Drain. Meanwhile, bring cream and butter to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Toss with fettuccine.
TILAPIA: Combine spices in a small bowl. Pat fillets dry. Rub mixture on both sides, covering them well. Heat oil and butter in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute’ tilapia for three minutes each side, or until cooked through. Serve over fettuccine alfredo.
Catholic Digest, Feb/March 2013, p. 54-55
Since Ash Wednesday was a fasting day, I had tried to eat only a little for breakfast and lunch so I could enjoy this, which looked delicious in the magazine. I have to admit, in the nearly seventeen years since becoming Catholic, fasting is a huge struggle for me. I plan out in my mind when and what I’m going to eat, and find myself thinking about food for most of the day. My first Ash Wednesday fast was a disaster: I ate so little for breakfast and lunch that by the evening I was famished and grumpy, and it was difficult to prepare dinner. I just about bit Joe’s head of when he arrived home from work. After that, for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday I started eating a mid- to late-morning snack instead of breakfast, a regular-sized lunch in the early to mid-afternoon, and a small dinner. That’s worked out pretty well, except for the fact that I find myself thinking about when I’m going to get to eat next. (Know what’s funny? On those days that are particularly busy and I barely have enough time to grab anything to eat, I’m eating the same amount–maybe less–than when I’m consciously fasting, but I don’t get all that hungry and I don’t think much about food. Why is that?)
This particular Ash Wednesday the Lord gave me the grace to fast cheerfully (I am so thankful that the Church does allow us to eat a little bit, though!!) and I was able to enjoy preparing and eating this. It was super quick and delicious. I had never prepared anything “blackened” before, and truthfully I think it was less spicy than most blackened dishes would be. I’d never made pasta alfredo before (I have no idea why), and Larry asked me, “Uh, Mom? Can you make pasta like this more often?” I reminded him that the reason he liked it so much is because it’s made with butter, cream, and cheese. But yes, I WILL make pasta alfredo more often!
And guess what? My version looked even better than the picture in the magazine. And it was so quick to prepare that Joe and I had time to attend Mass after dinner. Here’s what I wore:
Moe is preparing dinner tonight; I’m off to the butcher to grab what he needs!