December 5, 2012

The Maine Ingredient: In a pinch, fixings for pasta may be at hand

By BROOKE DOJNY

It's pretty easy to forget to shop for fresh food for supper at this time of year, so I offer two pasta dishes that can be made with ingredients standing at the ready on the cupboard shelf -- that is, with the exception of fresh parsley and lemons.

Both are quickly made and delicious.

 

SARDINE PASTA WITH FRESH PARSLEY 

This dish is similar to linguine with white clam sauce and, in fact, you could substitute a can of chopped clams for the sardines if you like. Serve with sliced tomatoes drizzled with a mustardy vinaigrette.

Servings: Four

1 pound thin-strand pasta such as linguine or spaghetti

3 tablespoons drained oil from two (33/4-ounce) cans small brisling sardines

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

1 cup bottled clam juice

1 cup dry white wine

½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Whole sardines from cans (above)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, cut in 8 wedges

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, optional

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain into a colander.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the sardine oil and olive oil. Add garlic and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the pepper flakes. Add clam juice and wine, bring to a boil, and cook uncovered until slightly reduced, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and the butter, swirling until it melts.

On a serving platter, toss about two-thirds of the sauce with the hot pasta. Arrange sardines over the pasta, spoon remaining sauce over the top, and serve.

At the table, pass salt and pepper for a final seasoning, along with the lemon wedges and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

 

PASTA PUTTANESCA

This lusty and forthright tomato- and olive-based sauce is aptly named after Italian ladies of the night (the puttane). Serve with seeded breadsticks and a salad of Boston lettuce tossed with a light vinaigrette.

Servings: Four

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained

½ cup sliced black olives

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

2 tablespoons drained capers

½ cup chopped parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 ounces linguine or spaghetti

Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the drained tomatoes, breaking them up with the side of a spoon. Stir in the olives, anchovies and capers. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

Stir in the parsley, oregano and red pepper flakes and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; it may not need it, since anchovies and capers are salty.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta at a rapid boil until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain the pasta.

Reheat sauce if necessary. Spoon sauce over the hot pasta and toss. Offer grated cheese at the table for sprinkling.

 

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently "Lobster!" (Storey, 2012). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula, and can be contacted via Facebook at:

facebook.com/brookedojny 

 

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