Pasta Con Sarde

Recipe courtesy of Philip DeMaiolo

3 lbs. Barilla Thick Spaghetti
3 c extra virgin olive oil
3 bunch fresh sage leaves
12 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced thin
3 tsp chili crisps
1 c pine nuts
3 c unseasoned breadcrumbs
6 oz. butter, unsalted
12 oz. sardine filet can, boneless, skinless in olive oil
1 1/2 c diced onions
9 c pasta water
1 c locatelli romano grated cheese
2 pts. multi colored cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1. Heat olive oil and fry sage leaves (reserve sage leaves). The oil will be infused with the sage flavor.

2. Take 1 ½ cups of the sage oil and sauté the sliced garlic till golden and a bit crisp, add the chili crisp pine nuts and bread crumb, sauté until breadcrumbs are toasted. Remove and crumble the sage into the breadcrumbs. Reserve a few leaves for garnish. Place breadcrumb mixture aside for assemble of pasta.

3. Fill a large pot with water (approximately 2 gallons) and bring to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt to flavor the water. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the 3 lbs of pasta. Stir pasta often to keep it from sticking together until it is cooked al dente, approximately  7 minutes.

4. While the pasta is cooking, place a large saucepan on the fire and add ½ cup of the sage oil and the butter. Once the butter is melted add the onion and caramelize.

5. Then add the sardine fillets and the oil they are packed in. 

6. Add the 9 cups of pasta water and stir. Add the tomato halves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. By this time the pasta should be cooked. Drain well and add the remaining sage oil over the pasta and stir.

8. Wet the pasta with a bit of the sauce and then toss with 1 cup of the breadcrumb mixture. 

9. Twirl pasta as shown in photo and place in a bowl.

10. Top pasta with the sauce, sardine fillets and tomatoes, sprinkle additional breadcrumb mixture on top and then the locatelli cheese. 

11. Garnish with reserved sage leaves.