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Pasta with Sardines

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Sardines and a box of pasta are often pantry staples in many Filipino kitchens and homes. In our case, it is a bottle of Filipino-made sardines bottled in oil. As for pasta, it’s a given.

This is how our son Constante can easily make Pasta with Sardines any time, especially after a busy work day. I tried making this the way my son suggested it, but tweaked the recipe slightly, relying on what I had in the ref and kitchen shelves.

This pasta dish cooked quickly. The pappardelle itself cooked in under 10 minutes. And a fast sauté of the sardines with the rest of the condiments took five minutes. Of course, it also took seconds to devour this feast of minimal ingredients yet packed with wholesome, savory flavors.

Pappardelle are large, broad, flat pasta, similar to a wide fettuccine. I used dried pasta for this one. Following package directions, I was amazed it cooked in less time than other pastas.

I sauteed the sardines in a skillet with the garlic, shallots, tomatoes, spinach. I made sure to spritz a few drops of lemon juice, and a splash of white wine. This is one of the best ways to enjoy the sardines even more.

My son suggested adding a handful of fresh, chopped basil, which he himself did, from a plant he grows. Basil adds a slight sweet-savory taste, with subtle hints of pepper. It’s a pretty garnish to pasta dishes, as well.

Serve this Pasta with Sardines for a meat-free entrée for Lent which starts this week, or a family meal any day.

And to our son, Constante, whom we fondly call Toby at home, what better way to celebrate your birthday today, than with a huge platter of these long, languid pappardelle cooked with the sardines you love. Happy birthday, dear son!

Spanish-style Sardines in corn oil.

Pasta with Sardines

Pasta with Sardines is an easy entree any one can prepare quickly with pantry staples of pasta and bottled (or tin) sardines. These are ingredients which are often in most homes. Saute the sardines with garlic, shallots and tomatoes, plus a spritz of lemon and a splash of wine. This combination with the addition of leafy greens, plus the pasta makes for a wholesome, scrumptious meal. This is a recipe from The Quirino Kitchen by Constante G. Quirino.
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Dinner, Fish, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Pasta with Sardines
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 126kcal
Author: Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Large stockpot – for pasta
  • colander, to drain pasta
  • Large skillet or saucepan, about 12 inches diameter


  • 10 ounces dried Pappardelle pasta, cook according to package directions; save 1/2 cup pasta water for saute
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 whole shallot, sliced
  • 1 bottle (220 gm) Spanish-style sardines in corn oil; about 1 cup, drained
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
  • 1 cup pitted black olives
  • 1 Tablespoon capers
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine
  • 2 to 3 cups baby spinach or kale; washed
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves; washed; chopped about a handful


  • Cook pappardelle pasta according to package directions in boiling water with salt. My package instructions were for 5 minutes.
    When cooked, drain and reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water. Set pasta aside.
  • In a large skillet, over medium high heat, pour the oil.
    Saute the garlic, shallots and tomatoes till soft for about 1 to 2 minutes.
    Add the drained sardines. Using a cooking spoon, crush the sardines in smaller pieces.
  • Pour the lemon juice, wine, and about 1/2 cup pasta water. Blend ingredients.
    Add the olives and capers.
  • Add the leafy greens and mix well. As soon as the greens wilt in 1 to 2 minutes, add the pappardelle pasta to the rest of the ingredients.
    Mix well so that the sardine mixture coats the pasta and tomatoes and greens are distributed evenly.
  • Prepare basil by washing and rinsing the leaves. Remove the stems. Pat dry with paper towels. Stack the leaves on top of one another. Then, roll the stack. Slice the rolled leaves into strips.
    Toss in the fresh basil and incorporate well. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper.
    Serve while warm with some bread.

Cook's comments:

  • I used pappardelle for this recipe, but you can substitute with any pasta you prefer, for the same amount. Follow package directions for cooking.
    You can also substitute the leafy green vegetables for what's in season or your preference.
    For sardines, you can substitute about 2 tins if you don't have bottled ones.


Serving: 100grams | Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 131mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided  in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

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