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Make flavorful fish and pesto dinner with little effort

Linda Gassenheimer
Tribune News Service

Pesto sauce, created in Genoa on the Italian Riviera, adds bright flavors and textures to dishes. Pesto combines fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. Store-bought pesto sauce made this a quick, 15-minute dinner by adding it to sauteed cod fillets for a quick burst of flavor with very little effort.

Farfalle is also called bow tie pasta. A simple sauce made with cherry tomatoes and ground coriander completes this Italian meal. I used a skillet to make the pasta sauce, removed it and used the same skillet for the cod to save cleanup.

Helpful Hints:

  • — You can use snapper or tilapia instead of cod.
  • — You can use any short-cut pasta such as penne or rigatoni.
  • — Look for reduced-fat pesto sauce in the market.
  • — Dry the fish with paper towels to remove moisture. This helps to brown the fish.


  • — Place water for pasta on to boil.
  • — Prep all ingredients.
  • — Make the pasta sauce and remove to a bowl.
  • — Saute fish in the same skillet used for pasta sauce.
  • — Drain pasta and add to bowl.

Shopping List:

To buy: 3/4 pound cod fillet, 1 container reduced-fat pesto sauce, 1 lemon, 1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, 1 bunch fresh basil, 1 bottle ground coriander, 1 jar minced garlic and 1 package farfalle (bow tie) pasta.

Staples: olive oil, salt and black peppercorns.

Cod is topped with pesto sauce and served with farfalle and tomatoes.


Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound cod fillet
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat pesto sauce
  • 2 lemon wedges

Heat oil in the large nonstick skillet used to make the pasta sauce, over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the cod on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Add cod to the skillet. Saute 3 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Flip the cod over and spoon the pesto sauce on top. Saute 3 minutes or until the cod is opaque or meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. Divide cod between two dinner plates and spoon any sauce left in the skillet over the cod.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 293 calories (43% from fat), 14.1 g fat (2.8 g saturated, 5.8 g monounsaturated), 77 mg cholesterol, 33.8 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 340 mg sodium


Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer

  • 1/4 pound farfalle pasta (about 2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup water (from the boiling pasta)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves torn into small pieces

Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. When boiling, add the farfalle and cook 8 minutes or until al dente or just slightly firm.

While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Saute 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the coriander and 1/2 cup water from the boiling water. Cook 2 more minutes. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Remove to a large bowl, scraping up all of the sauce.

Drain the pasta and add to the bowl. Toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two dinner plates and sprinkle the basil leaves on top.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 294 calories (18% from fat), 5.8 g fat (0.9 g saturated, 2.3 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 9.6 g protein, 52.1 g carbohydrates, 4.4 g fiber, 16 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of over 30 cookbooks, including her newest, “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Listen to Linda on and all major podcast sites. Email her at