Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Venetian Spaghetti with Sardines

"It tastes a bit like clam chowder on pasta," came the observation after I'd served this to my fiancée. When that comment was met with silence—the silence of a cook's slightly bruised ego—her follow-up went, "But I mean that as a good thing!"

I aspire to greater culinary heights than stew on noodles, so I tucked into my portion to come up with a better description of this admittedly unusual pasta. But she was exactly right: This tastes just like clam chowder. And it really was a good thing.

Not that there are any clams to be found—just the ultrahealthy and ultracheap sardine, onions, and a little milk which almost melt to combine as a gently flavored and slightly thick sauce. It coats the pasta beautifully. As per the recommendation of Food & Wine magazine, where I found the recipe, we had it with a nicely acidic white wine, which highlighted the brininess of the sardines. And if the little canned buggers scare you off, keep in mind they are finely chopped and softened in the milk, giving up a lot of their fishiness and adding a luxurious flavor.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. He is currently living in Tartu, Estonia, for the year.

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