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Fish fillets topped with melted Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese can be made in minutes using a microwave. Penne pasta tossed with fresh basil is a simple side dish. The secret to this recipe is using best quality Parmesan.

The recipe calls for cooking the fish in a microwave oven. It can also be sauteed on the stove. Simply place a layer of tomatoes in a nonstick skillet and place the fish fillets over it. Cover with a lid and cook 8 minutes for a 1-inch thick fillet. Alter the time according to the thickness of the fillet, counting 8 minutes per inch. This meal contains 561 calories per serving, with 29 percent of calories from fat.

Hints: Any short-cut pasta such as elbow macaroni or rigatoni can be used. The easiest way to chop basil is to cut it with a scissors. It is used in both recipes. Prepare at one time and divide accordingly. Shave the Parmesan with a potato peeler. Two crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of bought minced garlic.

Countdown: Place water for pasta on to boil. Prepare ingredients for pasta and place in a bowl. Make fish fillets. Boil pasta and toss with ingredients in bowl.

Shopping list: 2 medium tomatoes, 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 2 (6-ounce) fish fillets, 1 box penne pasta. Staples: Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, salt, black peppercorns.

Basil penne pasta

½ cup fresh basil, torn into bite-size pieces

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

¼ pound penne pasta, about 1½ cups

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a large saucepan with 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil. Place basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a large bowl. Add pasta to boiling water and cook 10 minutes or until al dente. Remove 2 tablespoons of the pasta water to the bowl and mix with sauce ingredients. Drain pasta and add to bowl. Toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two dinner plates and top with fish. Makes 2 servings.

Parmesan fish fillets

2 medium tomatoes, sliced

2 (6-ounce) fish fillets such as tilapia, snapper, mahi mahi or sole

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese shavings

½ cup basil, torn into bite-size pieces

Arrange tomato slices in a microwaveable dish in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Place fish fillets over the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with minced garlic and salt and pepper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave on high 5 minutes or until center of fillet is opaque. (Test after 3 minutes, as microwave ovens have different powers.)

Remove from microwave, place cheese over fish and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 2 minutes, covered, before serving. Sprinkle basil on top. Serve fish over cooked pasta. Makes 2 servings.