Kitchen Diva

A Seafaring Addition to Pasta

In addition to giving your dish a tasty kick, sardines are rich in vitamin B12.
Angela Shelf Medearis, January 2018

One thing I love about studying food is the insight that culinary traditions give you into history and culture. While researching the preparation for The Feast of the Seven Fishes, also know as The Vigil, which contains a unique way of preparing fish, I discovered a delicious recipe for Pasta with Sardines and Lemon Caper Sauce.

This budget-friendly recipe is packed with flavor and uses only a few, high-quality ingredients. It’s the perfect dish for feeding and serving a crowd.

Pasta With Sardines and Lemon Caper Sauce

8 ounces angel hair (capellini) or spaghetti pasta

7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 package (about 4.3 ounces) imported sardines, in pure olive oil, drained and oil reserved

1/2 medium onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons capers, rinsed

1/4 cup lemon juice, plus 3 tablespoons for sprinkling

3 tablespoons fresh parsley or basil, chopped

Step 1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving a cup of the pasta cooking water. Reserve.

Step 2. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the breadcrumbs and toast until browned and crunchy. Remove to a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Step 3. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the reserved sardine oil to the pan on medium heat.

Step 4. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook the onions until soft and translucent.

Step 5. Add the sardines and capers to the pan. Saute for about 2 minutes, breaking up the sardines into smaller pieces. When they begin to golden, slowly stir in the lemon juice.

Step 6. Add the cooked pasta and freshly chopped parsley or basil to the pan. Toss pasta to evenly coat with sauce, mixing well. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen it a bit.

Step 7. Lightly coat the noodles with oil. Add additional salt, pepper, pepper or chili pepper flakes to taste. Top with the breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of lemon juice. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning author. Her website is


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