Lo Jacono: Palermo; Fonds Ancely: Arrivée des marchandes de sardines; Old Map – Wikimedia.
And, since I promised you to post this recipe during my last sardine adventure, here you are. This is an authentic Sicilian dish created during (over 200-years) invasion by Saracens (Moors). It combines typically Sicilian ingredients including: pasta, sardines, pine nuts, wild fennel and saffron in an extremely tasty and different twist.
Lois- Auguste Veillon: Les pêcheurs de la région de Naples – Wikimedia
In a large frying pan heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil, add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring until golden, for about 5 minutes. Remove the crumbs and toss with Parmesan. Set aside.
This is one of my all-time dinner favorites: Canned Sardines Pasta Bolognese. Easy, inexpensive, utterly delicious + HEALTHY (quick reminder: not only sardines are a super-food, packed with omega-3 fatty acids, iron and B vitamins; because they are short-lived, they don’t accumulate pollutants in their bodies). A little tribute to the humble canned sardines which seem to be making their come back in the last few years.
|Photo Credit: Irene Sirenko|
But what if you are a proud Sicilian or just a bit finicky to eat this quick adaptation and would still prefer the real pasta con le sarde? Then you will have to read my next post. Cheers!
I wanted to try this Martha Stewart’s recipe ever since I saw that spring al fresco image with fiddleheads pasta dinner served with a glass of white wine on a crisp white table cloth with some lilac flowers in the background. It has turned out to be an amazing vegetarian recipe with some new ingredients (fiddleheads and dandelions), so next spring I’ll be doing it again. Here is my tribute to it.
- Fiddlehead ferns are known to be eaten in Australia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan and USA.
- They are used for beer making in Norway and Siberia.
- First Nations people used fiddleheads not only for food, but also as a medicine against worms and parasites.
- There is an annual fiddlehead festival in Maine, USA.
- Maliseet Indians of New Brunswick, Canada, where known to use fiddlehead fern as medicine against malaria and believed it was good to eat it to pure the body of toxins and impurities.
- New Brunswick is abundant in fiddlehead ferns and Canadian village Tide Head bills itself as ”Fiddlehead Capital of the World”.
- In Europe fiddlehead ferns are used as a preservative for wine.
If you never tried fiddleheads before, the taste is like a cross between asparagus, spinach and artichoke with perhaps a little more accentuated earthiness. The loamy taste of fiddlehead ferns can easily put some people off, so if you never had it before I suggest you begin with a very small batch. Most people I know, however, find their taste and zesty crunch agreeable and exotic, so it’s really a very individual experience.
For years I have been cooking different variations of this soup (which I used to call “Soup With Meatballs”) using my grandma`s notes without actually knowing it was “Minestra Maritata”. Until a trip to an Italian wedding has opened my eyes to the official name of this soup, which translates to “married soup” so many assume this is a traditional Italian dish for weddings. In reality, the name of this soup stems from an excellent marriage of its ingredients: a mixture of meat, heavy broth, green vegetables, and pasta. This soup is hearty and filling and with this added protein it becomes a complete and balanced one-course meal.
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground veal (or chicken, or turkey, or sausage meat without casings)
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder (or two minced garlic cloves)
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, plus extra for serving
- 3 tablespoons milk (or water)
- 1 large egg
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
For the soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup minced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced carrots (3 carrots)
- 3/4 cup diced celery (2 stalks)
- 10 cups homemade chicken stock (or commercial)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (or 3 table spoons of apple cider vinegar)
- 1 cup small pasta such as orzo or stars
- 12 ounces baby spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped (or 1 small pack of frozen spinach wilted)
- pinch of chilli flakes, oregano and thyme (to your taste)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the meatballs, mix the ground veal, bread crumbs, garlic & onion powder, parsley, Parmesan, milk, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1 meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil over low heat in a soup pot. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine (or apple cider vinegar) and bring to a boil. Add meatballs and pasta to the simmering broth and cook for 6 minutes, until the pasta is al dente. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook for 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted.
Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with Parmesan if desired.