tinned fish pesto pasta



this dish comes together in a flash, with ingredients lying around in your pantry. a box of pasta, a tin of fish packed in oil (mackerel is a favorite, sardines work great, tuna is fine), and some pesto makes for a delightful time with very little work.

bring a pot of water to a boil, salt heavily (or to your taste), add pasta. cook to al dente as indicated on the box.

while the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. you can do this two ways: in another pan, or in a metal bowl placed over the boiling pot, double boiler style. if you choose the second route, be sure that there is room for the bowl to sit on the pot without touching the water— otherwise you will constantly be juggling the bowl on and off the heat to stir the pasta, and potential of spills when it boils over.

either which way you choose, put some olive oil in along with some minced garlic. then add spinach, pesto, and a spoonful or two of capers and stir taking care not to burn any of the garlic. once the spinach is starting to wilt, add your tinned fish and its oil. stir everything up without breaking down the fillets of fish too much. if the spinach is wilted too much, or you have a lot of pasta, feel free to add more handfuls in here. it’ll be fine. you can add whatever else you like to the pan, this is just a good base. it’s good with olives, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes. whatever tickles your fancy (and happens to be in your pantry).

speaking of pasta, it’s probably close to being done by now. reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. toss the pasta into the sauce (whether in pan or bowl) and mix everything up nicely. grate some hard white cheese (parmesan, pecorino, or the like) over the mixture, adding pasta water in small amounts to help everything come together. add black pepper to taste. serve hot!

reheats the next day fine, but i wouldn’t freeze it

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