Tagged: pesto

Smoked Sardines with Risini and a Parsley & Oregano Pesto

Ok – “What the hell is Risini?” I hear you ask. [Also sometimes called ‘Orzo’ – just in case you come across it and think we’ve been dishing out duff info!]

Well, it’s a rice shaped pasta. I saw it in Lidl (where else!) and just had to get a pack – with no idea what to do with it at the time. So it has been sat in my cupboard for over a month now.

I got a bag of smoked sardine fillets off the reduction bit at my Tesco (the only time I ever shop there).

And tonight came the inevitable question – “What are we having for tea?”

Fish, I said. So I prepped some pollock and breadcrumbed it for the kids and got the sardines out for me and the missus.

As my herb patch is a verdant jungle due to the crap summer we are having, I decided to make a pesto, but without the basil or pine nuts.  So I went to the patch and got a good handful of parsley and about half as much of the oregano.

I placed this in my blender along with a good glug of olive oil, half a handful of Peccorino cheese and the juice of half a lemon and blitzed it. It was a bit stiff at first so I added a little more oil till it was smooth.

I put enough risini for 2 into a pan of boiling salted water for about 5-6 minutes before adding a handful of peas. 

I then pan fried the sardine fillets skin side down in a hot frying pan till the skin went crispy. [You don’t get a truly crispy skin with sardines but it was enough to take the sliminess off it.]

I drained the risini and peas and then mixed in the pesto. Now we’re cooking!

Put the risini & pesto mix in a pasta dish and I added a few chopped tomatoes then laid the fish on top with a few shavings of parmezan. The whole thing took less than half an hour to make and I must say it was well appreciated by Carol, and by me.

I can honestly say that my fish intake has probably quadrupled over the last few years, and with recipes like this I can only imagine eating more.


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Hot Smoked Mackerel Pasta



One of the staple ingredients always in my cupboards is a jar of Pesto.

Frank doesn’t much like these jars but I don’t own a basil farm and we do use the stuff on a regular basis as the kids quite like it. I just find it a bit boring though and have come up with various ways of tarting it up. So I looked in the fridge one evening recently and saw a packet of Hot Smoked Mackerel that the missus had brought home reduced from Marks and Spencers. Mmmm, an idea. So here is what you do for 2 people – like most of my blogs are based on

It’s a very quick dish to make as it takes as long as it takes to cook your pasta. You can use any pasta but I find that the more grooves and things for flavour to collect on it, the better so I used Fusilli. What??!! Spirals to you and me, mate.

So get your pasta on the boil – remember to use a little more pasta than you would with a bolognaise as you’re not bulking it out with much.

While the pasta has started, get a chilli and a couple of large garlic cloves . Chop these up, not too finely. Add a few anchovy fillets and some capers.

Add a large glug of olive oil to a frying pan and throw in the garlic, chilli, anchovies and capers and fry on a low heat. You don’t want to burn the garlic as it will turn acrid. Keep stirring the ingredients around and the anchovy will disolve into the oil and also the heat from the chilli and flavour of the garlic will flavour the oil too.

Now get a small chunk of parmezan and coarsly grate or finely chop, as I did and set it aside.



Last of all get your mackerel and add it to the frying pan. Tear it into small chunks and just let it warm through.

Your pasta should be ready now, so drain the cooking water off and put the pasta back into the warm pan it was cooking in. Add the contents of the frying pan, add the jar of pesto, and add the parmezan and mix the whole lot together. Sometimes I add a tablespoon or two of crème fraîche for creaminess, but I had none. Share into your serving dishes add a few chopped chives and a good twist of black pepper.

There you have it. A good tasty meal for two in around twenty minutes. This was even nicer with a glass of Marks & Spencer’s Sauvignon Blanc.

Arrividerci, Mugsie