Tinned Sardine Appreciation Club Linguine (with Dill)

Oh my my. Who bloody knew sardines could go in anything?! I am currently battling a new obsession with them, as you can see from the fact they are in most of my recipes right now. Please don’t blame me too much, I don’t fancy queuing for an hour to get into Tesco and our local corner shop is full stocked of tinned fish… might as well ride the wave.

Mr Hangry Em brought home some fresh dill and chives that were going to go to waste, so a search ensued for a recipe to use them. Lucky for me I stumbled upon this recipe from Tasting Table, by Fabio Trabocchi. His is a traditional Sicilian dish, I didn’t have half the ingredients, so I modified it to at least aim for a good replica.

The problem is, Italians eat pasta for a starter on the reg, and I apparently followed a recipe for starter sized portions (or I am just very greedy). Horrendous mistake which I shall not be repeating again. So you have some maths to do unfortunately… just multiply the ingredients list below by the number of people eating. This sauce is a slurp inducing one, and I admit we mopped up any left with some bread. Highly recommend you have some on standby.

Recipe feeds 1 happily… or 2 slightly devastated

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Eat time: 30 seconds


1 tin of sardines in tomato sauce
4 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
100g linguine (or whatever pasta you fancy)
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tsp paprika (sweet if possible, smokey is still yum)
Handful of chopped chives (you can use dried chives… 1 tsp will do it)
Handful of chopped dill (as above, dried dill works, 1 tsp)
Parmesan (optional, to serve)


Start by getting your pasta water on to boil. Don’t forget to salt it, as you will be stealing the pasta water for the sauce later. When the water is boiling, pop your pasta in and cook to the packet instructions.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or shallow casserole dish over a low/medium heat, throw in the sliced garlic and gently heat for a few minutes. The aim here is to infuse the garlicky goodness into the oil, so keep an eye on it and make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. This is usually the point where Mr Hangry Em comes over to find out what is going on – the garlic will smell pretty darn good, and essentially a magnet for his nose. It’s really handy to cook garlic at roughly the time I need him to open a jar or get something from a high shelf.

Sprinkle over the paprika, and give it a quick stir, and let it infuse into the oil and garlic for a minute or two. Then add the chives, half the sardines and their tomato sauce, mashing them in the pan and cooking the for a few minutes.

At this point your pasta should be ready…. and eating is in sight. Make sure you reserve a cup of the pasta water, drain your pasta and add it to the sardine sauce, coating it all in the paprika yumminess. Sprinkle in the dill and some of the reserved pasta water, as well as your left over sardines and the lemon juice. Things will start to smell heavenly right about now, but make sure you let it all cook and infuse for a few minutes more. The water will cook down, but you do want the sauce to be a bit loose.

Plate up, and sprinkle with the lemon zest and some cracked pepper. I, of course, cover everything in parmesan, and it melts into the sauce pretty nicely. If you have it, use it.

Join my Tinned Sardine Appreciation Club.

Yassss, thou shalt never be hangry again!

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