I wanted to post a recipe using sardines at some point, for the very reason to prove to people that sardines are not something to be scared of. For years, sardines have taken such a bad rap for being a super stinky fish and nothing else. We all had those moments where we cringed at the thought of having sardines on our pizza. In truth, sardines are a wonderful source of o-mega 3 and are a great alternative to canned tuna. The price of canned sardines are definitely a bargain, and in these economic times we all should be embracing this long time hated food enemy. Even my husband at first didn't like the idea of eating sardines in this dish but then realized there was no fishy taste at all. The lemon zest and juice in the dish really took away all of that. Give this recipe a try and you will too become a sardines lover!

Serves 4


  • 1/2 lb dry penne
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced finely
  • pinch of hot pepper flakes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 cans sardines in mustard sauce (106 g each)
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • the juice and zest of one lemon (use one more if the first isn't as juicy)
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water
  • 2 large handfuls of arugula (can substitute spinach)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Put on a large pot of boiling water. Salt the water, then add in the pasta. Cook as directed on the package - until al dente. This should take about 10-12 minutes. When you're almost done cooking the pasta start on the next step. Make sure to reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.

2. Preheat a large shallow skillet, on medium heat, add in the olive oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes, chopped onion, and rosemary. Gently cook the onion and garlic mixture for a minute or so. Add in the 2 cans of sardines with the sauce and break them up using a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Zest the lemon and squeeze in the juice at this point.

3. Turn the heat back to low. Quickly add in the cooked penne, frozen peas, and the chopped parsley. Gently mix it altogether, and add in as much pasta water as needed to help bring all of the ingredients together. With the heat off, add in the fresh arugula and Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and gently wilt the arugula leaves, then serve immediately with more cheese if desired.

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