Sardine Spaghetti with Dill and Capers

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Store cupboard dinners are a must sometimes, especially as the holidays approach, budgets run low and hungry people seem to materialize on the doorstep. This one is so delicious that you’ll purposely forget to go shopping so you can make it.

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I don’t know about you, but the freezer is one of my best friends. In its drawers it hides a host of herbs (dill, cilantro, parsley and basil), chopped and ready to be used in sauces, stews, soups and anywhere else that doesn’t absolutely require the freshest of fresh herbs. There’s also almost always a big tub of breadcrumbs that I make up in the food processor whenever we’ve got a lump of stale bread knocking about. Nuts, too, are usually awaiting their fate in the freezer because they are too darn expensive to let them go rancid in the cupboard and you can usually use them straight from frozen.

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So most of the time I’ve got all the ingredients for this flavorful Mediterranean dish on hand, even though I live in damp, grey England which often couldn’t feel further away from the warm sun-drenched orange groves of the Mediterranean.

But no matter where you are, a can or two of sardines, a few capers, some fresh breadcrumbs and some dill are all you need to turn plain old pasta into a dinner party show stopper.

Bon appetit!

Do you have a store cupboard favorite that you turn to time and time again? Leave a comment and let us know what it is!

Recipe adapted from Gourmet

Serves 4-6
1lb (500g) Spaghetti, Bucatini or Linguine

2 cans Sardines in olive oil, oil reserved

1/2 small jar, about 1/4 cup, capers

4-6 cloves Garlic, pressed

1-2 large Shallots, thinly sliced (Optional)

1-2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (depending on how much of the dill, caper breadcrumb topping you want to put on each dish, but if there are leftovers they taste pretty good just with a spoon)

1/2 a bunch fresh Dill, finely chopped

1. Bring a big pot of water to the boil, salt and add the spaghetti.

2. In a small frying pan, fry the capers (get them as dry as you can first) until they pop and go crispy, then add the breadcrumbs and toss until golden.

3. Add breadcrumbs and capers to a bowl and stir in dill. Set aside.

4. In a larger frying pan or saucepan, add the sardines with their oil and fry until slightly golden (they may break apart but this will only make a  richer, tastier sauce). Add the shallots if using and soften.

5. When the pasta is ready, add the garlic to the sardines and cook for 30 seconds-1 minute. Add in the pasta and a bit of the pasta cooking water (or white wine). You want just enough to bring the sardine mixture together into a sauce.

6. Serve topped with plenty, and I mean plenty, of the caper, dill and breadcrumb mixture and enjoy!

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