Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

January 14, 2010
Author Notes

I created this recipe in an effort to make sardines more appealing. Since they're used often in Sicilian cuisine, I made a Sicilian inspired dish, with bold broccoli rabe. Wine-soaked sweet raisins and zesty lemon temper the more robust sardines and broccoli rabe, making a well-balanced pasta that will tempt even the sardine-averse. —Food Blogga

  • Serves 2 main or 4 side dishes
  • 1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), stems removed
  • 3 tablespoons raisins (soaked in white wine)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 (3.75 -ounce) cans sardines in olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons halved Kalamata olives
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, preferably sweeter Meyer lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 ounces rigatoni
In This Recipe
  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Boil broccoli rabe for 1 ½-2 minutes; remove and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Shocking the rabe will maintain its vivid green color and stop it from cooking. Using the same pan, bring the water to a boil again, and add the pasta. Cook until al dente.
  2. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with some dry white wine. Let them soak about 10 minutes to become infused with the flavor of the wine.
  3. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat add the pine nuts and breadcrumbs. Shake pan in a back-and-forth motion until they are are golden and aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add garlic and shallots, sauteing 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drain the broccoli rabe, pat dry, and add to the skillet.
  5. Drain the sardines. Using a fork, break sardines into small pieces and add to the skillet. Add the drained raisins, olives, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, and salt. Sauté 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
  6. Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the broccoli rabe mixture. Add toasted bread crumb mixture and fresh parsley and toss. Drizzle with quality extra virgin olive oil before serving.

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