Rating: 4 stars
9 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 6
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 0

In the case of this epic pantry pasta dish, you’ll transform strands of spaghetti into something restaurant worthy, thanks to pan-toasted panko breadcrumbs, a can of olive-oil packed sardines, and long-lasting fridge staples like parsley and lemons. Doubling up on alliums—garlic and shallot—make for extra depth of flavor to pair with the zesty lemon and rich sardines. Shopping tip: Because sardines have a strong presence in this dish, it’s worth splurging on a nice can from your local specialty foods store.


Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary

25 mins
25 mins
6 servings


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium. Add panko and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Wipe skillet clean.

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, return to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes.

  • During the last few minutes of pasta cook time, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet and heat over medium-high. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 2 minutes. Add sardines and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.

  • Using tongs, transfer cooked pasta directly to skillet. Add 1 cup pasta water and cook, tossing constantly, until liquid reduces and coats pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and half the panko mixture and toss to combine.

  • Top with remaining panko mixture, drizzle with oil, and serve with lemon wedges.