In this recipe we are using sardines, although you can use fresh smelts or anchovies if you prefer. The sardines need to be fresh and cleaned. To clean them, cut off their heads with kitchen shears or a big, heavy kitchen knife. Slice the fish open along the belly, then remove and discard the innards. Discard the backbone and snip the fins off, then rinse them, drain them and they are ready to use. Alternatively you can buy ready-cleaned ones or else ask the fishmonger to do it for you.
The sardines are arranged in a lightly greased ovenproof dish and then you can add olive oil, lemon slices, rosemary sprigs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Throw in some halved black olives if you want. Feel free to omit the breadcrumbs if you do not want a crunchy topping, or to swap the rosemary for basil (added at the end though, because basil wilts). The fish will take about 15 minutes to cook through but do keep an eye on them because it depends on your oven. Some ovens seem to cook faster.
The sardines can be served hot from the oven or warm, preferably with some kind of crusty bread on the side because there will be plenty of mouthwatering juices to mop up. Add a green salad and you have all the makings of a complete meal, except perhaps the glass of perfectly chilled Pinot Grigio which would go so nicely with this dish. A lot of people usually make the same fish dishes each time they are in the mood for fish, but try this one for a potential brand new family favorite. Continue reading
This is a very special pasta casserole which combines beef and lamb with both Italian and Greek flavors, creating a fantastic Mediterranean dinner which is sure to win your heart. Use rigatoni, penne or another large tube pasta for this recipe, and use good quality meat for the best flavor. Garlic, onion, thyme, basil and oregano go into the meat mixture to add aromatic flavors, and cinnamon and sugar round out the flavor. Add some tomatoes and a pinch of sugar to enhance their flavor, plus some feta cheese which is amazing with the lamb.
The finished dish is covered in mozzarella cheese to seal in the flavor with an authentic Italian cheese, and then you can bake it in the oven. As you can imagine this dish will smell incredible while it cooks, and you will hardly be able to wait until it is done. Those aromas will drive your taste buds crazy and make your mouth water with anticipation. The finished dish will be piping hot and the cheese on top will be melted and perhaps slightly golden brown at the edges. Add some fresh basil leaves for a garnish if you like.
This is an easy pasta casserole to make, although it requires about an hour total cooking time, so ensure you begin it well in advance. Serve it with Italian side dishes like a salad boasting rucola and lollo rosso (both delicious types of lettuce which are popular in Italy) or maybe some garlic bread if you want to stick with the comfort food theme. This is certainly a dish you will want to make again and again, perhaps tweaking it the next time you make it, trying some black olive slices in the mixture, or even adding a pinch of chili powder to give it a spicy edge. Continue reading
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