Merry, Merry Everyone! I hope y’all are having one too many rum + egg nogs by a fire somewhere. Christmas never really feels like Christmas, does it? And I’ll be the millionth person you’ll have to hear say: Christmas just wasn’t the same this year. But hey, Pasta Sarde ALWAYS makes it to our dinner table on Christmas Eve no matter what kind of year it’s been. Cause, well, it’s Tradition. And trust me, this Pasta Sarde recipe is one that’s been in the family FOREVER and it’s simply not Christmas (Eve) in this house without it.
Don’t know what Pasta Sarde is?! Well, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Pasta with Sardines (except our family uses anchovies). If you hate both of those things, just heeear a gal out, okay?! Cause, believe it or not, so do I!
PASTA SARDE ON CHRISTMAS EVE | THE ITALIAN TRADITION
Is it just my very Italian family that has the famous Pasta Sarde as an Appy on this special day? Yeah, we’re Italian…we eat Pasta as an appetizer. It literally went without saying growing up – Christmas Eve? We know Pasta Sarde is involved. This Pasta Sarde recipe is actually SO special cause it comes directly from Nonna and Nonno. And having it on Christmas Eve makes it feel like Nonna’s right there with us.
SO WHY CHRISTMAS EVE?!
Traditionally, Italians avoid meat like the plague on Christmas Eve (if you know, you know). It’s just a known fact that it’s designated fish day. As a child, it was the self-proclaimed worst day of the year! But, as an adult? My palate changed a tad and I’m happy to report that I actually dig it. Amongst this famous Pasta Sarde recipe, the table is just FULL of other fishy treats!
I’m not going to lie though, I kinda wish I could get through this entire post and recipe without ever saying the name of this particular dish. I mean, Pasta Sarde. Pasta with Sardines?! I just know that even the mere sounds of it will wrongfully scare a few of you away. But, bare with me! We’ll get past this together! And when you do, there’s no turning back. Pasta Sarde will be your family Christmas tradition, too!
THIS PASTA SARDE RECIPE
I’m not a fan of either sardines or anchovies. And when I say not a fan, I actually mean I hate them. Weird for a gal going on about a Pasta Sarde recipe, huh?! And yeah, maybe half of y’all are with me and immediately stopped reading after those two fishy words cause you think absolutely nothing good could come of it. And yeah, I ain’t gonna lie, if someone invited me over for “Sardine Pasta” I’d likely try to find any excuse in the book not to go. But this dish, the famous PASTA SARDE (which you could only assume means sardines in Italian) is as classic as it gets. Reminds me of my Nonna. And my Nonno. Reminds me of Home. Except we actually use anchovies. And, it’s the one and only way I’ll ever eat an anchovy. And, to boot, I’m pretty sure I could even convince ya that it wasn’t anchovies cause ya hardly even taste ’em.
Just don’t come over on Christmas Eve or you could bet your ass it is.
PASTA SARDE (PASTA WITH SARDINES)Course: Lunch, Dinner, AppetizersCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
A true Italian classic – and trust me, it’s waaaay better than it sounds and looks!
What You’ll Need
5-6 large pieces (about half a loaf) Italian Crusty Bread (Pane Vittoria), hardened*
10 Anchovy Fillets in Oil, slice in small pieces
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, kept whole
1 Jalapeño, cut into large pieces, optional
- Pulse the hardened bread in a food processor until coarse. Alternatively, you can grate it.
- Add the olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic (keep whole) and optional hot pepper. Coat in the oil until fragrant – 1-2 minutes. Remove the garlic and pepper. Reduce heat to low.
- Add the small anchovy pieces and stir in the oil for a minute then add the breadcrumbs. Toss to coat, stirring continuously. If you find the mixture too dry, add a few extra splashes of oil. Toast the mixture for about 10 min on low heat, stirring continuously.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta according to package directions. Do not drain. Instead, use a spaghetti scoop to spoon the pasta onto plates (to avoid drying out). Top each plate of pasta with a few tablespoons of the anchovy + breadcrumb mixture and toss to coat. Add some pasta water if needed.
- *We normally leave the bread out on the counter to harden. FOLLOW INSTRUCTION #1 FOR HOW TO MAKE BREADCRUMBS
LOOKING FOR SOME MORE SEAFOOD RECIPES?! TRY THESE, I PROMISE EVEN NONNA WILL LOVE ‘EM: