at our favorite restaurant in Praiano, Amalfi Coast....before
In a previous blog, I discussed my cookie “history”. Well, believe it or not, I have a sardine history as well. As a small child, I grew up in the Canary Islands, back in the day before we worried about where our children were every second of the day. When I was about seven years old, I used to be invited to lunch quite often by a family of Spanish strangers. I was drawn to their doorstep by the great food smells emanating from within. I guess when I kept showing up around lunch time, they thought they should take me in. I remember being served sardines in tomato sauce on bread….and loving it. My mother would be mortified to know I dined with strangers like a stray cat, and to this day I haven’t told her. Shh….
When we lived in Rome, we were lucky enough to experience many lovely weekend trips to the Amalfi Coast. In the tiny hillside, seaside town of Praiano we would often order Pasta con le Sarde or Pasta with Sardines, (along with the seabass baked in salt crust featured in a previous blog). It was always so incredibly rich, aromatic and flavorful making it necessary to perform la scarpetta at meal’s end. I have tried to replicate that recipe here to pretty good success.
Here’s your list of ingredients:
One garlic clove, smashed
One anchovy fillet (jarred)
14-15 oz. can of Italian plum tomatoes in puree
Italian flat leaf parsley
Put a big pot of pasta water on to boil, and let’s get started:
Our first order of business will be prepping the sardines. In Italy, the fishmonger will clean them, but he will leave the de-boning to you. Here, my fish guy wouldn’t do the cleaning, so….
The sardines will cook very quickly and before long, it will be easy to start breaking them up with your cooking spoon. Add a good pinch of Italian seasoning, and taste to see whether you should be adding some salt and pepper. Just before serving, throw in some chopped Italian flat leaf parsley. Remember to never throw out all your pasta water when you drain your spaghetti. If your sauce has become too thick, adding a little starchy pasta water is the perfect way to thin it out a little.
Would you like to eat Pasta con le Sarde in Praiano? That can be arranged. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.