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spaghetti with sardines and breadcrumbs


Every year during spring break we take a vacation with my extended family...there are eleven of us in all: my sister, her husband and their two children, my mom and dad, and the five of us. We are just back from this years trip so the next few posts will be from our time away. I am the cook of the family, and although I get tons of help with shopping, table setting, and clean up, the majority of the cooking is done by me. When we arrived the week before Easter we were warned that the shops would all be closed from Good Friday through the Monday after Easter, and as a result I immediately started stockpiling food.  Things that could be stored in the pantry were especially appealing since refrigerator space was limited and 4 days is a long time for things to last. I was a little worried about trying something for the first time when a table of 10 were counting on me for dinner but all were quite happy with this dish! We ended up having it again towards the end of our trip - this time I used whole wheat spaghetti, which no one even noticed. Coarse breadcrumbs add texture to this dish so I recommend making your own from some stale bread: just tear bread into small pieces and then pulse in a food processor or blender until you have coarse crumbs. If you want to skip this step Panko breadcrumbs are a good alternative.





1 pound spaghetti

1/2 - 3/4 cups breadcrumbs 

olive oil

1 red onion, finely diced

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

2 tins sardines 

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped


Bring a large pot of salted water

to a boil.


In the meanwhile, toast breadcrumbs in a medium skillet until lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl and wipe skillet clean. Return pan to the stove and add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to a skillet placed over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until transluscent. Add sardines and the oil they are packed in to the pan and break up with a wooden spoon. 


Once you have started sauteing the onions and garlic you can cook the spaghetti. When it is almost ready add the parsley to the sardine mixture. Drain the spaghetti when it is al dente, reserving a cup or two of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the pot. Add the sauce and toss to combine, adding some of the pasta water if the mixture seems too dry. Stir in breadcrumbs and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil if desired. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.