Lusty Pasta with Sardines

February  9, 2019
2 Ratings
Photo by Emily
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

This is sort of a variation on pasta puttanesca, which has anchovies and is usually cooked very quickly. Here, I use sardines and I cook the sauce longer, so it is thick and sweet. I also use lemon zest and juice, which brightens up this very lusty sauce. —Emily

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 large onion, diced medium fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely minced
  • 1 tin of sardines in oil, larger bones removed
  • 1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained
  • 28 ounces can of tomatoes, pureed or whole (not diced)
  • 2/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 10 oil-cured black olives, pitted and roughly chopped (you can use other olives if you can't find oil-cured ones)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 pound spaghetti or linguini
  • Zest of one lemon, juice of 1/2 lemon
  1. Sauté the diced onion in a tablespoon or so of oil over medium low heat; cover for a few minutes so that the onions stays moist and become translucent. Avoid browning the onion. While the onion is softening, get a pot of well-salted water going on the stove to cook the pasta.
  2. After the onion is soft, add the garlic and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes. (I like to make this a little on the spicy side, so I use a couple healthy pinches of red pepper flakes.) Let cook for a couple minutes, avoiding overly browning the garlic. Add the sardines and capers and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sardines start to dissolve.
  3. If you are working with whole canned tomatoes, pour the tomatoes into a bowl and either break them up with your hands or lightly pulse them with a soup stick. Add the tomatoes; then add a 1/3 – 1/2 cup of water to the can, swirl it around to get the remains bits of tomato out, and add it to the sauce.
  4. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 30-35 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the sauce thickens.
  5. When the sauce starts to thicken, cook the pasta. Five minutes before the pasta is done, add the chopped parsley and the olives to the sauce. Don’t add the olives earlier: they will overpower the sauce if they cook in it too long.
  6. Drain the pasta, add to the sauce and toss to combine. You can add some extra fresh parsley at this point, if you’d like.
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1 Review

Meg January 31, 2022
We LOVE this recipe. My husband often chooses puttanesca sauce for his birthday, but we like this even more. Sardines are supposed to be really good for you, but this is the first recipe I've found that I really enjoy them in.