Spaghetti with breadcrumbs, chilli, fennel seeds and sardines

Spaghetti with breadcrumbs, chilli, fennel seeds and sardines

By
From
The Art Of The Larder
Photographer
Mike Lusmore

It might not sound like much, but this dish is a triumph for the storecupboard. Small oily fish respond well to being tinned, and are largely sustainable, delicious and ridiculously good for you. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they give a good fishy thwack to this Sicilian-inspired pasta dish.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
salt
freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
40g fresh breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes, or to taste
1 x 100g tin of sardines (in olive oil),, drained
3 tablespoons currants or raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained if salted, drained if in vinegar
1 lemon, grated zested and juiced
300g spaghetti or linguine

Method

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a small pan over a moderate heat and fry the breadcrumbs, stirring often, until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a bowl lined with kitchen paper and set to one side.
  2. In a saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a moderate heat and add the garlic, fennel seeds and chilli flakes. Season the mix with a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes for the flavours to meld but without browning the garlic. Add the drained sardines, breaking them into smaller flakes and gently warming them through. Add the raisins, pine nuts, capers and lemon zest, then remove from the heat and keep warm in the pan.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Season with salt, add the pasta and cook as per the packet instructions.
  4. When cooked, drain and stir into the sardine mixture. Add a quarter of the breadcrumbs and mix well, seasoning with salt, pepper, the lemon juice, the remaining olive oil and extra chilli flakes if you like.
  5. Divide the pasta between your bowls or plates, sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs and serve immediately.
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