I am transformed sitting here writing this article on Sicilian cooking. Hungry here now, but even hungrier a month ago sitting in an Italian trattoria dreaming of Sicily. Ah, bellissima Sicily, imagining a meal overlooking the blue Mediterranean. But on a rainy and crisp Spring night in Bologna, Italy it was still magic: the atmosphere, the smells, the feel, the beauty of seeing the neighborhood clientele dive in on a weeknight to their local restaurant to enjoy some real home cooking. It was pure luck that I discovered this trattoria gem. After looking through the window I had peeked my head in the door and the affable owner welcomed me in with a smile and served me a glass of wine. How could I refuse a meal? Everything on the hand-written menu was Sicilian. This simple spaghetti with sardine sauce was my primo piatto that night.
And it is an honor to present it to you as part of this month’s Recipe Redux Challenge.
This month’s recipe theme is “Sea What You’ve Been Missing.” The challenge was to create a delicious and healthy recipe using small fish (sardines, anchovies etc.) or sea vegetables (seaweed or kelp). This dish has canned sardines, which are full packed with nutrient dense cancer fighting and cholesterol lowering essential omega 3 fatty acids, along with calcium and red blood cell boosting Vitamin B-12. The bones in canned sardines are digestible and full of calcium so use these canned sardines as a whole piece, bones included! Don’t worry, they are soft and you won’t choke on the bones. Canned sardines are a versatile perfect food to have in the pantry. Mixed with spaghetti or just opened up and eaten as a protein during a main meal, these are a must to have around.
Don’t overcook the spaghetti, pasta should be cooked al dente for the most health benefits on taste and glycemic index. This recipe was adapted from my all time favorite cookbook , “The New Basics Cookbook” by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lutkins. Serve this dish as a first course as they do in Italy or as a main course with a green salad to follow. Normally you wouldn’t serve grated Parmesan cheese with this dish or other Italian pasta fish dishes, but this is also a matter of taste and feel free to add Parmesan if you like.
Bon Appetit and enjoy checking out the rest of the Recipe Redux dietitians healthy and delicious dishes below!
A Simply Sicilian Spaghetti alla Sardine Sauce
|Prep time||5 minutes|
|Cook time||15 minutes|
|Total time||20 minutes|
|Meal type||Main Dish, Starter|
|From book||The New Basics Cookbook|
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (preferably Italian olive oil)
- 1 large onion, cut into julienne
- 12oz spaghetti
- 1/2 cup raisins (preferably golden)
- 1 can sardines, in olive oil (4 1/2 ounce can)
- 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 sprinkle cayenne pepper
A simple Mediterranean dish that goes very well with a light and fruity white wine. This recipe calls for canned sardines but you can use fresh cooked sardines in substitution. If you can only find canned sardines in water, drain sardines first.
|Heat oil in a very large skillet. Use a skillet big enough to put in cooked pasta at the end.|
|Sauté onion in olive oil until transparent, approximately 5 minutes.|
|In the meantime, heat a large pot of salted water to boil and add spaghetti. Cook pasta until al dente. (While water is heating up, continue with next steps)|
|Add raisins to the skillet and cook onion-raisin mixture 5 minutes more on low heat.|
|Remove skillet from heat and prepare sardines.|
|Open the cans of sardines reserving the olive oil.|
|Chop sardines into 1/4" pieces and add them to skillet with reserved olive oil, sprinkle of cayenne pepper and juice from half a lemon.|
|Drain the spaghetti and add immediately to sardines in skillet, mixing thoroughly.|
|Sprinkle parsley on dish and serve immediately.|