Kitchen Diva

Garlic Brings Out the Flavor

Angela Shelf Medearis, March 2017

Of all of the ingredients in my kitchen, garlic is the one I use in almost every savory dish.

No matter how you mince it, garlic adds a wonderful flavor to all kinds of savory dishes and is a great way to protect your health. Try my unusual, budget-friendly dish for garlic and lemon sardines with parmesan pasta and get a delicious dose of garlic to help keep the doctor away.

Garlic and Lemon Sardines with Parmesan Pasta

8 ounces linguine, egg noodles or fettuccine, white or whole-wheat

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 small yellow onion, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (divided)

2 slices bread for breadcrumbs; or 1 cup packaged breadcrumbs

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon salt

2 (3- to 4-ounce) cans boneless, skinless sardines, drained and flaked

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (divided)

1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (divided)

Step 1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt so that the water tastes salty. Add pasta and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the water to add to the sauce.

Step 2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, cook, stirring, until fragrant and sizzling but not brown, about 20 seconds. Add the tomato paste, sage and 1/8 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic mixture to a large bowl.

Step 3. To make fresh breadcrumbs: Trim crusts from the bread slices. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form.

Step 4. Wipe out the pan. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil in the pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and 1/8 teaspoon of the cayenne or red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until crispy and golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Step 5. Whisk the lemon juice, the pepper and salt into the garlic oil. Add the pasta to the bowl along with the sardines, 1/4 cup of the parsley, 3/4 cup of the Parmesan and the reserved pasta water, about 1/4 cup at a time, as needed, to bring the sauce together. Gently stir to combine. Serve sprinkled with the breadcrumbs, and the remaining parsley and Parmesan. Serves 4.

Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her website is


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