Anyone who visits Mary Grace Cafe but hasn’t tried their Spanish Sardines pasta is totally missing out. It’s the simplest, yet the best oil based pasta sauce I ever tasted.
Olives, sardines, olive oil, and few spices.
So easy and simple but mellows perfectly in one delectable dish.
Don't be fooled by the simplicity of this dish; I do think it’s what makes my toddler like it, making it our go-to, comfort dish.
And so when we planned for the week’s menu, we thought of recreating the pasta with bottled sardines and spinach fettuccine -- two steps healthier than the usual ingredients you would find online.
250g Spinach Fettuccine
10-20 black or green or both (better) olives, sliced thinly
1 large garlic clove
1 small onion
25-30 g bread crumbs ( I used whole wheat Oishi Bread Pan)
1 tbsp Lemon
a teaspoon of grated parmesan
a teaspoon of nutritional yeast (optional but makes your dish super duper nutritious)
3 tablespoons of good quality extra-virgin olive oil
salt for the pasta
(Adapted from Food52)
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. If you're not sure how much salt to add, go with Mario Batali's advice: "salt the water until it “tastes like the sea.” Just a bit of an advice, cover the pot so water boils faster. You get to save time and electricity by doing that.
While you bring the water for the pasta to a boil, sautee the bread crumbs in a pan over a medium flame. Stir continuously till it becomes a nice tan colour. Set aside. (Optional: Zest the lemon and combine a tablespoon or so of zest with the toasted breadcrumbs)
Open the sardine bottle and drain a tablespoon or so of the oil into a wide skillet (the amount of oil in the tin will vary by brand, so add additional extra virgin olive oil if necessary to make up a tablespoon). Warm the oil over medium-low heat and sautee, breaking up slightly but leaving some chunks, cooking until fragrant.
Add the olives and mushroom to the skillet with a sprinkle of salt, raise the heat to medium, and let them sizzle for a minute, just until fragrant. Add 3/4 of the chopped parsley, cheese, and other spices, then set aside.
Juice the lemon and add the juice to the pan. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
Add the linguine to the boiling salted water, cooking it until it is just short of al dente. (Around 8-9 minutes)
Using tongs, transfer the linguine to the sauce to finish cooking, adding a little bit of the starchy pasta water and tossing gently to combine. (You'll want to leave this a little wet, as the breadcrumbs will soak up the sauce and dry the pasta out a bit once you've added them.)
Transfer the pasta and sauce to a large warmed serving bowl (or individual pasta bowls), add a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle on the toasted breadcrumb-lemon zest mixture, and garnish with the remaining parsley and lemon zest.