Thursday, April 1, 2010

Canned eats

Photograph by Evan Sung for the New York Times

The Minimalist, as Mark Bittman is known in the New York Times, cooked out of his pantry this week, and his creation shows just how necessary a well-stocked pantry is for those times that you just can't go out to shop.

But why do all recipes have to serve 4-6 people? This one is easy to cut down for two or three people, and can serve four who are watching their weight, or who like big salads with their dinner.

Pasta With Sardines, Bread Crumbs and Capers
serves 2-4

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

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put half the oil (1 tablespoon) 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. (Wipe out the pan so you don't get burned crumbs for the next step.) Add the remaining oil and the onion to the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until just tender; 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.

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.

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