So the best thing about pantry pasta is that you just use what you have on hand. But what if you don't have white wine? Or capers? Or fresh tomatoes? So this recipe is a little weird, but I'm adding in all the alternatives I have used in the past to get a tasty result without having to stop at the market on the way home. Some variation of this recipe gets made every week in my house because usually by the tail end of the week, I've lost the will to live, let alone go to the grocery store.
It's pasta. You really have to work hard to make it taste bad - so go nuts!
And I definitely used 3 tins of sardines because I am a sardine freak, but I only specify 2 in the recipe because 3 may have been a bit excessive. —Niknud
olive oil (or veg oil, or bacon fat, or butter)
tins sardines (in oil or water)
diced shallots (or any type of onion)
cloves garlic, minced
pint cherry tomatoes, halved (or 28 oz can diced tomatoes)
frozen spinach, cooked according to direction (or fresh greens of any kind)
capers, drained (or good quality olives, chopped)
fresh lemon juice (or white wine)
red pepper flakes
fresh parsley (optional)
toasted bread crumbs (or panko)
melted butter (or olive oil)
freshley grated parmesan (or other hard cheese)
dried pasta (recommend a rotini or penne type)
Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook the pasta to 2 minutes before done. While this is going on, make the sauce.
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the sardines (no need to drain unless you want to), mashing with a spoon to break up. Add in garlic and onion and sauté until soft - about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, spinach, capers, lemon juice and red pepper flakes and continue to cook until the ingredients meld together. If you are using canned tomatoes, do not drain - just add it all in. If you are using fresh greens instead of frozen spinach, just toss them in the sauce uncooked - they will cook down as the sauce cooks. If the sauce gets tight before the pasta is done cooking, add in a bit of the starchy pasta water.
Add the pasta and mix together with the sauce. Cover with a lid and cook for another minute or two until the pasta is cooked to your liking. Stir in the fresh parsley and season with salt if needed.
Mix together the melted butter with bread crumbs until it resembles wet sand.
Serve the pasta topped with bread crumbs and grated parmesan.
Full-time working wife and mother of two small boys whose obsessive need to cook delicious food is threatening to take over what little free time I have. I grew up in a family of serious cookers but didn't learn to cook myself until I got married and got out of the military and discovered the joys of micro-graters, ethiopian food, immersion blenders and watching my husband roll around on the floor after four servings of pulled pork tamales (with real lard!) complaining that he's so full he can't feel his legs. Trying to graduate from novice cooker to ranked amateur. The days of 'the biscuit incident of aught five' as my husband refers to it are long past but I still haven't tried my hand at paella so I'm a work in progress!