I think a traditional Sardinian pasta dish usually includes saffron and sausage. And by “I think,” I mean it’s an educated guess.
This is not at all a traditional dish from Sardinia, and both of those (albeit delicious), ingredients are not in it. I’m calling it “Sardinian Pasta,” for two reasons.
One, it sounds really good — doesn’t anything named after an Italian island sound tasty!? And two, there are sardines in this recipe. (And guess what? Sardinian cuisine doesn’t even include very much seafood.)
So there you have it. My Sardinian Pasta is a deeply flavorful, beautiful, comfort food. Really, really comforting. And to add even more comfort to a comfort food dish, it’s often a good idea to crack an egg over it!
- 8-ounces Pappardelle pasta
- 4 large red bell peppers, roasted and peeled (Here's how to roast and peel peppers.)
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 6 small to medium-sized, roughly chopped garlic cloves (about ¼ cup)
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup roughly chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 cup roughly chopped, seeded, fresh tomato
- 4 wild sardines in olive oil, backbones removed and roughly chopped
- ½ cup pasta water (saved from cooking Pappardelle -- see recipe instructions below)
- 2 cups packed, fresh baby spinach
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon dried chile flakes
- 4 large eggs
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until it's very aldente -- it will finish cooking with the sauce later. Add ½ cup of the pasta water to a small bowl and set is aside. Then, drain the pasta, toss with a bit of olive oil, cover, and set that aside, too.
- Remove the stems and all of the seeds from 3 of the roasted and peeled peppers. Add them to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, or a blender, and purée them until they are as smooth as possible. Set aside.
- Remove the stem and seeds from the last roasted and peeled pepper, and cut it into thin slices. Set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and place it over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and let become slightly golden, about 4 minutes.
- Add the oregano, puréed peppers, sliced peppers, olives, tomato, and sardines. Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes.
- Add the ½ cup pasta water, spinach, the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, sugar and the cooked pasta. Gently stir to coat all of the pasta and evenly distribute the sauce.
- Create 4 small openings in the pasta, with a few inches between them. Crack 1 egg into each opening. Sprinkle the eggs with a bit of salt and the chile flakes.
- Cover with a fitted lid or foil, turn the heat to low, and simmer until the eggs are cooked the way you like them. For a soft yolk, it's about 10 minutes.
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