sardine pasta

Here’s my take on a Sicilian classic. Made it last night.
Using fresh sardines is a serious bonus, but not strictly necessary. Canned sardines are GREAT, and a really easy thing to have around.

You’ll need:
Red pepper flakes
Pine nuts*
Golden raisins*
bread crumbs
grape tomatoes*

*really all quite optional! This CAN be a very simple pasta, made from things that are easy to keep in the pantry, and still taste great.

Get a big pot of pasta water going. Lots of salt.

If using fresh sardines, liberally salt them and coat with olive oil. In a grill pan or cast iron or whatever you’ve got around, grill them up! A grill pan with a panini press works beautifully. Pretty high heat.. first side for a couple of minutes.. second side a little less. You’ll be able to tell.
Once they’ve cooled a little, flake the meat of the bones and reserve.. Don’t worry too much about the really fine bones.. you won’t choke on them. If you’re using canned sardines, just pull them out of the can and chop them coarsely.

Dice onions. Dice garlic. Pan roast grape tomatoes. Soak golden raisins in warm water. Toast pine nuts.

You’re ready to go!

Start the pasta. Everything remaining will take about the same amount of time as the past will to cook.

Saute the garlic, red pepper flakes, and onions in a nice flashy pan.
Once the onions are looking translucent, add the pine nuts and raisins and sardines.
Keep the mixture moving, but delicately. Sardines are pretty delicate little fishies, and it’s easy to make them totally disintegrate at this stage (which some people like in this pasta.. I prefer a chunkier more rustic feeling version).

Once the past is finished and drained, add the parsley to the pan, followed by the pasta.. Make sure that there’s plenty of olive oil in the pan to keep the pasta from sticking. Toss delicately but well. Add the tomatoes and incorporate.

Divide onto plates, and top with pan toasted bread crumbs and good Parmesan. (now before you purists jump down my throat about mixing cheese and fish, I’m happy to say that while I know it’s sacrilege, I happen to like it in this case! um. so there.)


One of the really nice things about this little pasta dish is that sardines are one of the fishies we’re really supposed to be eating. They reproduce fast, reach maturity fast, are at the bottom of the food chain, so they don’t accumulate tons of heavy metals, and they are NOT over fished. They are also chock full of all those amazingly good for you fish oils. And on top of it all, they’re CHEAP! The six you saw in the video cost us just over $5 (a NICE can of them can cost as much and only yield about a third the meat. Mind you, fresh ones aren’t easy to find. We’re lucky to have two supermarkets nearby that have them a couple of days a week).

This week has been ok. Night 1 was brutal. Aches and pains, nausea, etc. Didn’t eat much dinner.
Morning of day two I was still feeling pretty crappy, but put on full rain gear and strolled across the park in the sleet/rain. It was simply beautiful. Hardly a soul in the park. beautiful white and grey day. I felt better leaving chemo than I had felt when I walked in. The oxaliplatin from the day before seemed to have worked it’s way out of my system. I came home, napped, and cooked some dinner.

Feeling fine today. I’ll head in at around 11 to get this bloody pump unplugged and then go down town to play a little pool with Jeremiah. It’s a rough life!

EDIT: obviously this post didn’t go up quite when I expected it to. Video still needed a little work. It’s evening now. Feeling a little beat up from this round, but DID manage to play pool all afternoon with my good friend J. Came home. Finished up the video. For those of you who actually try some of these directions for cooking, let me know if the video helps.. It seems to me that with my stubborn unwillingness to give amounts, or even terribly clear directions, that seeing it unfold, even at warp speed, might elucidate things a little. If so, I will endeavor to keep them coming.

Big love.

24 Replies to “sardine pasta”

  1. Ez,

    First met you through bikes, but now meeting you through food. This is amazing. Pace is fantastic in this clip – gorgeous food!

    Thoughts are with you. Big mojo-nation from Philly.


  2. NOM! I just love sardines, fresh or canned. AND I love pasta. It’s a match made in heaven. Thanks.

    Hey, have you tried it with fresh pasta? Or, maybe the chewiness of the dried kind complements the sardines.


    PS — The treatment sounds like a bitch. All the best, hugs and wishes, etc. to you and your ‘girls’.

  3. i love sardines…this might just be the thing to make when by myself. 🙂

    As for sardines and cheese, well, my one of my favorite sandwiches is a sardine-and-gruyere pairing with some roasted red pepper relish, one long dried chile, and some bibb lettuce. makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

  4. Never knew the goodness of sardines til my wife and I had them made by friends in Spain(honeymoon). So good! I think we’ll have to try this recipe.
    My wife, Em, has done something different but, this reminds me of it…(i can confuse the two…’chovies and sardines)
    Take anchovies and melt them in with butter. Add any of the ingredients listed above, pasta, and there ya have it!
    all things to taste, of course. 🙂

  5. These videos are great. I’m in constant awe of your talents: bikes, photography, dance, cooking, and something tells me you’re doing okay with one pocket, too. Ever dabble in 3 cushion billiards? There is a place in Brooklyn (or was yeas ago), Sang Lee Billiards, that has nice tables. I suspect there are many other places in NYC, but I don’t know the city too well. Anyhow, all the best with your treatment.

  6. Raisins and sardines in the same dish. Who would have thunk it possible. I think most Americans lack the culinary appreciation for this little fish. It has sustained me on many a travels because the canned variety is available almost everwhere you go, it’s always cheap and generally safe to eat. Anyhow, interesting recipe and I feel inspired to try this out this weekend. Good luck with your treatments … L.

  7. Hi Ezra…I found you through Ali Goodwin’s Facebook…your bikes are beautiful and this pasta dish (which I made tonight) is amazing…hang in there and be strong…

  8. I’m always amazed at the variety of food you have in there, but there is also a cost to that: in Portugal we get fresh sardines everyday, and in a few months 1 Kg will cost less than 1 USD 🙂

    Still, amazing films, nice ideas, very cozy environment, brutal bikes. Nice to see you know how to make good use of it!

    Best of luck and don’t hesitate if you need anything portuguese/spanish related 😉

  9. Ezra,
    I got my son Chris who’s a 21yo college guy onto your page, he sent me a txt that he tried out this tonight and it turned out great.

    Thanks for inspiration and keep up the good fight,
    Best wishes from Colorado.

  10. That is a good element, I am very willing to read this write-up, and I consent with the ideas of this text. I think this is the best thoughts and opinions. I will do something after reading it.

  11. Really like the vid. I have to make an italian dish as part of my university italian language course and keep thinking of sicily and sardines… is this a traditional italian dish with an italian name? (classic about no amounts or directions hehe)

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