Minnesotans may be known for our passive-aggressive communication but some became downright aggressive when responding to a recipe I posted a few months ago. It was a more summery version of this pasta – featuring, of all things, SARDINES. I get it. I never thought I liked sardines either until I went to a restaurant in NYC called Prune (RIP) and ate the simplest of sardiney appetizers: Triscuit crackers with a quick slick of Dijon mustard, a piece of an oil packed sardine and a briny cornichon. Maybe it was the magic of the Big Apple but I was sold and I’ve loved them ever since.
This pasta is my recent sardine vehicle. Almost every ingredient is long lasting and always in my pantry. It’s salty and lemony and super satisfying. If you’re deeply opposed to sardines (you know who you are – you shared your feelings on my Facebook page, lol) you can easily switch to canned tuna. But give it a shot. You never know when something you previously couldn’t imagine liking becomes one of your favorite things. And isn’t that just part of the joy of life?
Lemony Sardine Pasta
1/2 pound dry pasta of choice
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tin oil packed sardines
1/2 cup chopped artichokes (I use oil-packed but water packed is fine too)
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives, pitted
the juice and zest of 1 small lemon
freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese
red pepper flakes
Bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions, reserving 1/3 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until fragrant and translucent. Add the sardines and the oil, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Add the artichokes, olives and pasta, stirring to coat. Pour in the pasta water and add the lemon juice and zest. Turn off the heat and serve (this recipe serves 2), topping with parsley, cheese and a flurry of red pepper flakes if you want a little kick.