Have you heard the saying that you should never go to the grocery store hungry because you will buy things you don't necessarily need or want? Well I have a tendency to do that and end up with the most random things like mirchi curry powder. I didn't even know what mirchi was but it sounded so exotic and I was momentarily inspired to learn how to make an authentic Indian curry. I cleaned out my pantry this week and found the jar of mirchi curry unopened. I checked the expiration date and it was 2010. Into the trash it went along with my fleeting dreams of becoming an authority of curries. Anyway, during this pantry cleaning session I also found a tin of sardines. I picked it up a few months ago after seeing a pasta dish with sardines on a restaurant menu. I remembered thinking that I would try and make that one day and because I was craving pasta that night, I decided it was time to open up that tin of little fishes.
So pasta with sardines is actually a traditional Sicilian pasta dish called pasta con le sarde. Doesn't that sound so much more sophisticated in Italian? But in reality, it's a really simple dish made with just olive oil, garlic, white wine, parsley and of course sardines.
I thought about how I could make a somewhat healthier version of pasta con le sarde. Sardines, in case you didn't know, are actually pretty good for you. High in calcium, iron and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of heart disease. Damn. I should be eating them everyday. I used whole wheat spaghetti and kept the olive oil to a minimum. Speaking of whole wheat spaghetti, Whole Foods makes one that I love. I normally am not a fan of whole wheat pasta because it tastes like cardboard to me. But for some reason,the one from Whole Foods is delicious and at $1.99 a bag, super cheap.
This recipes serves one. You can double it if dining a deux!
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 tin of sardines, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of finely chopped parsley
1/4 dry white wine
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
4 ounces of spaghetti
Reserve one ladle of the water after cooking the spaghetti. The water contains the starch from the pasta and will help make a sauce.
Start by cooking the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Remember to salt the boiling water. Next, toast the Panko breadcrumbs in a pan using a few sprays of olive oil cooking spray. Once the breadcrumbs are golden brown, remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.
Next, saute the garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the sardines and half of the liquid that is in the tin. Cook for 2 minutes and add the white wine (turn off the heat momentarily or remove the pan from the heat). Cook down the wine and the parsley, lemon juice and cooked spaghetti. Depending on the consistency of the sauce, add a little of the pasta water.
The spaghetti should have a little bit of sauce so add the water a little bit at a time. Plate up the spaghetti and stir in the breadcrumbs. Mangia!