Pasta sauce from leftover sardine oil

Pasta sauce from leftover sardine oil

My fridge occasionally gets cluttered with opened bottles of condiments and half-finished jars of preserves. They get shoved to the back of the fridge and then I only take a quick glance at them because I don’t want to keep the fridge door open for too long. Sometimes I get annoyed because there is not enough space for other things. However I often put off making a decision and commiting myself to use up these jars. There comes the day when I simply have had enough and decide to get organised in my fridge. As it’s always the case with leftover procrastination I am craving for new and fresh and in the back of my mind using up leftovers occasionally still conjures up images of deprivation and lack. Not until I dismiss these decadent thoughts and remind myself how much fun there is to be had with working what I have got at home.

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Like the other day when I finally decided what to do with a leftover jar of sardines in oil where only the olive oil and a few flakes of sardines were left. I also discovered a lone anchovy captured in a jar of cloudy olive oil. Using up leftovers shortens your shopping list, so I was delighted to see that I still had garlic and some lemon juice, the only thing I had to go out and buy was a bunch of parsley and a packet of gnocchi.

Have you already guessed what I decided to make? Right. A simple pesto from the oil with the sardine flakes, anchovy and garlic with chopped parsley (it was a weekday after all and since I wasn’t intending to keep vampires at bay and had to go to work…) and a spritz of lemon juice. I love gnocchi because they are so quick to cook and very forgiving if you forget to set the alarm. You know they are done when they are happily floating on top.

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The pesto yielded enough for two dinners and I loved the subtle flavour of fish with the starchy gnocchi so much, I was happy to eat it for dinner two nights in a row. Quantities given here are approximates and if you recreate this, feel free to adjust. Other pasta such as linguine or spaghetti also works well with this sauce.

Gnocchi with herby fish pesto

  • oil from a jar of leftover sardines (approx. 175 ml)

  • 1-2 anchovies, coarsely chopped

  • bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped

  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed

  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

  • salt

  • pepper

  • 400 g gnocchi or other pasta

Put the first five ingredients into the bowl of a food processor (or use a handheld blender) and mix until the parsley is finely chopped. Season to taste. Cook the gnocchi (or other pasta) according to package instructions. When ready, strain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the cooking water.

Heat the sauce in the pot you cooked the pasta with. Add the pasta and stir. If the sauce is a bit thick, add a little bit of the cooking water to reach the desired consistency (I like a creamy sauce). Serve immediately.

live your spice to the full

live your spice to the full

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