Sicilian pasta with smoked sardines: a canned sardine that’s close to fresh

In 3 short weeks I head to my favorite spot in the world–the Mediterranean sea. Once landed, I always make a beeline to the closest outdoor taverna and order me up some fresh grilled sardines. I know a lot people won’t bother to order them let alone eat them as they take a little work to peel around the bones to reach the succulent meat. But I love them and that’s what’s first the order of eating for me every time I visit.

But here at home, well, it’s a different story. Perhaps it’s the lack of balmy breezes and the parade of interesting looking international people parading by that sets the scene to dig into fresh sardines. Here at home I eat them canned like everyone else. So finding good ones is a never ending task for me, until now.

After having been raised on store brands, it wasn’t until venturing out on my own that I discovered there had to be canned sardines that would at least come close to the fresh. This week finally I found the one. Bela-Olhao Portugal lightly smoked sardines have transported me back to that favorite spot in the world. And the variety with cayenne flavored olive oil  will have you longing for the sunny Med coast.

While delightful right out of the can, let me truly bring you to Southern Europe with this Sicilian Pasta with Smoked Sardines. Just pretend there is a breeze.


2 servings

1 can (4 1/4 oz) Bela-Olhao Portugal Sardines in cayenne flavored olive oil
½ cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14. 5 oz) diced tomatoes
1/4 cup golden raisins
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 ounces ziti
1 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
1 Tbsp minced fresh basil

1. Drain off 2 tsp of olive oil from the can of sardines. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, raisins, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 6-7 minutes or until al dente. Drain.

3. Add the sardines to the sauce and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

4. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce and top with pine nuts and basil.



All photographs and recipe testing courtesy of Olga Berman from Mango & Tomato.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 28th, 2010 at 7:45 am and is filed under Main Dishes, Product Reviews, Recipes, Seafood Dishes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Sicilian pasta with smoked sardines: a canned sardine that’s close to fresh”

  1. Leslie Says:

    I’m actually going to keep an eye out for these. I have a can from TJ’s that I’ll try the dish with. I think I might like it!

  2. Janel Says:

    I also have a can from TJs that I haven’t cracked open. I’m usually not intimidated by food, but I’ve never eaten them before, let alone cook them! I’ll definitely be using your recipe for my first try. I love any savory dish that includes raisins so this one seems like a winner!

  3. Millard Furgeson Says:

    Very cool. I’m going to give it a try. Wish me luck!

  4. Chip Says:

    This recipe is awesome! So tasty and so enjoyable!

  5. Robyn Webb Says:

    So glad you liked it Chip!

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