Pasta con le sarde
Because we're lovers of all things pasta, our favorite way to use sardines is Pasta con le Sarde.
- 8 ounces dried pasta, we like bucatini here
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 small head of fennel, sliced thinly
- 1 can of sardines, oil reserved
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (fresh is best, but dried will work as well)
Cook the bucatini in a large pot of salted, boiling water.
In a large cold skillet, add the olive oil and sliced garlic and place over medium heat. As the oil heats and the garlic starts to sizzle, keep it moving and allow the garlic to turn golden, but not brown. Once golden, remove the garlic "chips" and set aside.
Add the chili flakes and fennel and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the sardines and break up with a wooden spoon. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.
In a separate small pan, heat the oil from the can of sardines. When hot, add the breadcrumbs and stir attentively while the breadcrumbs toast. When well-browned, remove from the heat and add the lemon zest. Set aside.
Now it's time to bring it all together! When it's jut shy of al dente, remove the pasta from the water and add to the large pan with the fennel and sardines, along with a ladle of pasta water. Turn the heat to high and stir to combine. Allow to cook for a minute while the pasta finishes cooking, adding more pasta water as needed. Once perfectly done, add the breacrumbs and toss to combine. Serve immediately in warm bowls.