I’ve never been a huge fan of sardines at all. Growing up, I would watch my parents eat it with white fluffy rice and cooked veggies, but the idea of limped fish all packed tightly together while covered in oil or tomato sauce never sounded appealing to me.
Earlier this year (when we could still go out) I visited Omnivore, a culinary book store in San Francisco . Finding the signed copy of Allison Roman’s new cookbook Nothing Fancy was like finding a needle in a haystack. Reading the book was a breath of fresh air and gave me the inspiration to use sardines more often. I had leftover dried pasta and and sardines in the pantry. I did a quick google search of recipes and inspiration. That’s when I stumbled across the New York Time’s rendition of Pasta Con Le Sarde. I was missing a few of the ingredients and therefore this is my take on it.
Toasted Panko Breadcrumbs
In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 T of olive oil. Add about 1/2 cup of panko Breadcrumbs and toss lightly in the pan until golden brown. Season it with salt and black pepper. Transfer the panko breadcrumbs into a bowl. Set aside.
Meanwhile start boiling your water for pasta. I was cooking for 2 so I used about 8 ounces of pasta for the recipe. Follow the package directions.
In the same sauté pan on medium heat, add an additional 2 T tablespoons of olive oil, and add the rest of the olive oil from the sardines. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, 2 T of chopped garlic, 3 T of chopped red onions, 1 T lemon zest and 1 T of chopped parsley. Lower the heat if necessary.
Meanwhile, start flaking the sardines, you can use a fork or hands. I prefer my hands. Add the sardines into the pan and turn it to down to a medium low heat.
When the pasta is slightly al dente, toss the pasta into the sardine oil mixture for 1-2 minutes. Add a bit of the pasta water if the pasta is clumping together.
Season the pasta with salt and black pepper.
Gently toss, the breadcrumbs into the pasta.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve!