One Sunday morning after getting home super late from a wonderful night out with friends, we rolled out of bed at 10am. Indeed, we slept in uber late, waking up still sleepy and without much motivation for anything. But given that we hit our pillows at 3:30a, I feel you understand. We ain't no spring chickens anymore.
So after our morning coffee and a little work, starving pangs hit our stomachs and brains at the same time. JC was jonesing for pasta, and no big surprise, so was I. It was Sunday after all. Our pasta day. I do feel quite responsible, and delighted at the same time, as I take full credit for conditioning him to crave pasta on Sundays. The two just go together.
We truly had zilch in the house. Not even parsley, which is considered a constant round these parts. I do, however, try to keep some staples in the pantry for just these occasions. Knowing we had anchovies, sardines, garlic, red pepper flakes, I suggested a Sardinian style pasta from our stash. When I yammer on about creating something from nothing, this is exactly it. Scrounging around the pantry, and fridge to see what might be viable options. It's moments like these that having quality pantry items can be your hunger pangs' salvation.
JC was up for the challenge and immediately ran to carry out our plan. I must say, he executed this perfectly, creating a spicy, salty mix reminiscent of that sexy Italian island.
Now, there are tons of recipes for Sardinian style pasta. Some incorporate raisins and spices and other combinations which are all fantastic. And I implore you to experiment with them. But when you want pasta fast, easy and without having much in the fridge, but still delivering bold flavors, then try this one. It will knock your socks off. Again, the key is the quality of the canned ingredients. The ones we used truly enhanced this dish to the max. Since I work at Despaña, I have access to some delicious products. (And you can too, the website here ships all across the country.) These tiny tins pack so much flavor that you barely need to add anything else. I will say that both the Spanish and the Italians have a knack for producing some of the best jarred and canned products.
So with Spain providing a healthy boost to create the sauce, and Italy providing the idea of combining them together for pasta, it was a lovely marriage that resembles the one between this Italian American gal and her spicy Spanish man.
1 - 4 oz. tin sardines in olive oil
1 - 4 oz. tin sardines in hot sauce
1 - 4 oz. tin Baby Surimi Eel
2-4 anchovies, optional
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 c roasted tomatoes
1 T capers, drained and wash in water
pinch red pepper flakes
pinch dried oregano
2/3 c olive oil
1/2 lb spaghetti
Start by slowly heating up oil, red pepper flakes, oregano and garlic.
Add the two tins of sardines with their liquids and eels, but draining the tin of baby eels first.
Add the roasted tomatoes and let the sauce warm through. That's all it takes. You should not need to add salt to this dish, but always taste and season according to your taste bud.
Spoon some of the sauce on the bottom of the bowl, swirl the spaghetti on top, then spoon more sauce and add grated cheese.
Honestly, this couldn't be simpler. It's all about using a few good ingredients and warming them up so they can swim together. Pour yourself a big glass of red wine. We choose a Mencia wine, Petalos from the Bierzo region of Spain. This was the perfect way to stave off the hunger pains and soothe our European souls.
Viva Italia, and ok Spain helped too.
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P.S. Happy birthday to my fellow Piscean friend, Dianne., who is loyal reader and supporter. And although she may not be a fan of sardines, it's still appropriate in honoring the glorious versatility of fish!