I’m sure everyone more or less always have a tin of sardines or tuna in the house. I’ve always thought these tinned fish are absolute lifesavers. They are cheap and can be stored for an extensive amount of time. Hence why I tend to always have a few stored up in my kitchen just in case one day I forgot to do my grocery shopping or somewhat stranded in the house, just so I can still make some nice food. For instance, there’s this Spicy Tomato Sardines Pasta Recipe that’s super handy to have at hand.
Fun facts about Sardines
Named after the island of Sardinia in Italy, sardines are a very versatile ingredient to make. It might be small in size, but it’s packed with an abundance of vitamins and nutrition. Similar to salmon, it is an oily fish and contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is widely known to be beneficial to our health.
Sardines are most commonly found in tinned form because they are highly perishable and rot rather quickly. But if you’d like to try a taste of fresh sardines, grilled sardines are quite a popular starter dish in the Mediterranean.
Melting into the Sauce
Sardines share similarities with anchovies and, in fact, comes from the same family. They are both small in size and can act as a flavour enhancer. It is very common to use anchovies in sauces and stews because it boosts an umami flavour. You can check out my Easy Steak Recipe with Tomato Sauce and Saffron Tomato Poached Cod, where both of these recipes featured the use of anchovy as a flavour enhancer.
Sardines are meatier and don’t “dissolve” into a sauce the way anchovies does. When you break up the tinned sardines, it almost blends into the sauce and gives the sauce that little extra boost. In this case, it is a spicy tomato sauce base and served with pasta.
Spicy Tomato Sardines Pasta Recipe
- 250 g Linguine Pasta / Spaghetti
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
- ½ large Onion sliced
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Flakes
- 120 g Oil-packed Tinned Sardines drained
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Italian Mixed Herbs
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 400 g (1 tin) Chopped Tomatoes
- Salt & Black Pepper to taste
- Lemon Juice to taste
- Fresh Parsley Leaves for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in garlic and red chilli flakes, saute for a minute until fragrant.
- Add in the sliced onions, cook for 5 minutes until softened.
- Season with paprika, Italian mixed herbs, salt and black pepper.
- Stir in tomato paste. Let cook until deepened in colour.
- Add the sardines. Roughly break it up using a wooden spatula.
- Stir in chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Toss in cooked pasta and mix well.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Serve immediately.
- I used oil-packed tinned sardines here but if you’re a bit more health-conscious than I am, feel free to use those in brined water.