Sunday, October 7, 2012

Minimize the salt, maximize the flavor

A less-salty version of pasta sauce with sardines eliminates anchovies.

But I added grated cheese, which has sodium, to my portion of rigatoni.

The biggest source of sodium in my hearty red pasta sauce with sardines is a 2-ounce can of anchovies -- so they were the first to go.

I've been adding anchovies to bottled pasta sauce for years to add a robustness without a fishy taste. The tiny fish completely dissolve in the bubbling sauce.

Instead of 32 ounces or 40 ounces of bottled sauce, I downsized to a 24-ounce jar of Classico Tomato and Basil, and that cut the amount of sodium further.

I poured the sauce over leeks I had sauteed in a large, non-stick pan with a glass cover; added red-pepper flakes and dried Italian herbs, and about 6 ounces of sodium-free extra-virgin olive oil.

I opened a can of Moroccan sardines with oil, drained them in a plastic colander and actually rinsed them under cold water to get rid of more salt.

I added them to the sauce and chopped them with a wooden spatula.

There is no need to salt the water or add more than enough to cover the pasta.

I cooked Colavita Whole Wheat Rigatoni ($1.49 for 16 ounces at Jerry's in Englewood) until a minute or two before it was al dente, drained it and finished cooking it in the sauce.

My wife gave me the thumbs up when she tried it, but I thought it could use a little more salt and added grated Pecorino Romano sheep's milk cheese to my portion.

Delicious. I drank a glass of Italian red wine to celebrate.

Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Sardines and Leeks.

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  1. I enjoy your blog. My local Shop-Rite has a registered dietician who is available to answer all kinds of questions regarding sodium in food. It's such a big problem for lots of people with high blood pressure, kidney issues, heart disease, etc. There is so much of sodium in food, even in ones that you would never suspect. The dietician also does programs at our town library, too. Good job by Shop-Rite.

  2. Can you tell us where that ShopRite is?

  3. Thanks. I'll have to ask at the ShopRites I patronize.


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