Squid Ink Pasta with Sardines

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This one is made from simple handful ingredients like an onion and a little lemon and some herbs (parsley, thyme & marjoram). In fact, this is a meal made from a box, some jars and a can. The box is pasta (and maybe bread crumbs, but if you have stale bread around, so much the better), the jars are capers and oil, and the can is sardines. The sardines are not only inexpensive and meaty but also one of the few fish not (yet) on anyone’s “watch” list, so unlike most seafood they can be eaten without guilt.

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Yields: 6 Servings


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs ideally made from stale bread
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound squid ink pasta
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 cans sardines packed in extra virgin olive oil (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnish.


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Put half the oil (2 tablespoons) in a medium skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, less than 5 minutes, and then remove. Add the remaining oil and the onion to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente; drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Turn the heat under the onions to medium-high and add the lemon zest, capers and sardines; cook, stirring occasionally, until just heated through, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the pasta to the sardine mixture and toss well to combine. Add the parsley, most of the bread crumbs and some reserved water, if necessary, to moisten. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnishing with more parsley and bread crumbs and serve immediately.

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