Pasta con le sarde

Pasta with sardines is a very tasty and healthy food. Sardines are rich in unsaturated fats, very good for cholesterol control. My choice is to use freshly made tagliolini as the round taste of this type of pasta enhances the delicate flavour of fish ragouts.


INGREDIENTS (serves 4 people)
8-10 sardines
2 garlic cloves
2 or more chilli peppers (according to taste)
5 tablespoons of olive oil
pine kernels or white almonds
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
half tablespoon of lemon rind
400 g tagliolini
salt and pepper


Cleaning sardines needs some patience and skill: just hold the sardine by the head, then remove the bone by squeezing the belly and moving finger and thumb towards the tail so that the head, the bone and the tail all come away together, neatly separated from the meat.Cut the fillets into sections of less than one inch each and put to one side.With a large frying pan at medium–high heat carefully toast the pine kernels or some finely chopped almonds in little oil, remove and put to one side also. In the same pan, flavour 4 tablespoons of olive oil with one or two crushed garlic cloves and one chilli pepper. Turn the garlic until it takes some colour and remove it before it gets brown.Lower the flame and add the sardines with some salt, cook gently for about 3 minutes, then add the pine kernels or the almonds, parsley, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and lemon rind and gently turn for another minute. Adding the lemon really gives a kick to the recipe as you may not like the “oily feeling” of this fat fish and the olive oil combined. The lemon rind on its side adds just a hint of sourness to balance the sweet base taste of the sardine meat.In the meantime you have boiled the tagliolini in a large pot for 4 minutes, with plenty of water and two teaspoons of salt.Add the tagliolini to the frying pan, turn gently for another minute or so, on a high heat, adding some olive oil and water from the pasta in order to get a more uniform blend of flavours and a consistent look.