Lemon-Olive Sardine Orecchiette
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch rapini, coarsely chopped
- 2 4 ¼- oz canned smoked sardines in lemon olive oil*
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 1/4 cup chopped green olives with pimento
- 10 oz orecchiette
- ½-1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- In a large skillet, heat a small amount of olive oil and saute the garlic and onion until the onion is translucent. Add the rapini and sardines (with their oils and juices) and continue to saute until the rapini is wilted, breaking up the sardines as desired.
- Meanwhile, cook orecchiette according to package instructions and drain.
- In a small skillet or saucepan, toast the bread crumbs and red pepper flakes over low heat until golden. Set aside.
- Add the lemon juice and zest, and olives to the rapini and cook for about 2 minutes to heat the olives through. Toss with orecchiette and divide into two large bowls. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs.
Sardines in flavored oil like this are a great short cut to bold flavor. I added some fresh lemon juice to brighten it up a bit but the oil itself was quite flavorful. The very light smoke flavor and the lemon is really the perfect complement to bitter greens like rapini.
The whole meal took maybe 20 minutes but was supremely satisfying and felt special thanks to the little detail of the toasty spicy bread crumbs.