Elevate a humble tin of sardines to an elegant and tasty meal with our Contributing Food Editor Emily Jonzen’s simple pasta recipe
RECIPE, STYLING AND IMAGE: EMILY JONZEN
Tinned sardines may not be the most enticing of ingredients, but they are an ideal staple to have in the cupboard. Nutritious and full of flavour, they are incredibly versatile and a small tin will feed two people well.
I’ve been using them recently in sharp tamarind curries, tossing through salads or adding to pasta dishes, such as this. As one of my friends said last week, it’s good to have some ideas for what to do with them, beyond lobbing them on toast.
This is a recipe that is more of an idea to share, rather than something prescriptive to follow, but I hope that it offers a little bit of adaptable inspiration. As with all of these recipes, the majority of ingredients are ambient and may already be in your cupboard. I’ll offer alternatives where possible.
Sardine & Olive Pasta with Garlic & Chilli Crumbs
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 30 g breadcrumbs (not essential but adds good texture and flavour)
- Chilli flakes, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 200 g (or more!) pasta (I used linguine)
- 150 g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (or 1/2 a 400g tin chopped tomatoes)
- 70 g olives (green or black), roughly sliced
- 1 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
- 1 125g tin sardines in tomato sauce
- A handful of parsley, roughly chopped (not essential)
- The juice of half a lemon
- To make the garlic and chilli crumbs, heat ½ the oil in a large frying pan over a low/medium heat. Add the crumbs and cook for 2 minutes, until starting to turn golden. Add the ½ the garlic, a pinch of chilli flakes and a pinch of salt and continue to cook for a further 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and crisp. Scrape out of the pan and set aside for now.
- Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water, according to packet instructions (try a bit before the time elapses though, to check that it’s tender but with a little bite). Drain, keeping a mugful of the cooking water.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking, add the remaining oil to the frying pan, along with the garlic. Once beginning to sizzle, cook the garlic gently for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook for 6-8 minutes, until beginning to break down (or slightly reduced if using tinned).
- Add the olives, capers and sardines to the pan and stir gently to warm through. Season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste.
- Drop the pasta into the pan, along with a little of the cooking water, to loosen. Check for seasoning and toss through the parsley and lemon juice. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the crumbs.
Discover more of Emily Jonzen’s recipes here…