Pasta with eggs is a standby for many single cooks. This version takes it up a notch with the addition of smoky fish, crunchy walnuts and sharp preserved lemon.
Tuna packed in oil may be substituted for the sardines.
- Sea salt, plus salt for the cooking water
- 2 ounces dried whole-wheat spaghetti
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) chopped walnuts
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1/2 3.75-ounce can best-quality smoked sardines in oil, drained and chopped (3 to 4 fillets; may substitute 2 ounces oil-packed tuna)
- 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup packed) baby spinach leaves
- 1 slice preserved lemon (about 1 teaspoon chopped)
- 1 tablespoon grated pecorino Romano cheese (optional)
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions (until al dente). Drain, reserving at least 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, crack the egg into a teacup.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet fitted with a lid, over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, slip the egg into the skillet; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the tops of the eggs are barely filmed over and the yolks are still runny. Transfer the egg to a plate, and return the skillet to the heat.
Add the walnuts, garlic and sardines to the skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is tender, 3 or 4 minutes. Add the baby spinach leaves; stir until they wilt, 2 minutes.
At this point, if the spaghetti's not done, remove the skillet from the heat.
Add the spaghetti to the spinach-sardine mixture in the skillet (over medium heat). Add the cooked egg and toss to combine, cutting up the egg in the process. Add the preserved lemon and some of the cooking liquid, if desired, to form a looser sauce.
Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with the cheese, if using, and eat.
From Joe Yonan, author of "Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One" (Ten Speed Press, 2011).
Tested by Joe Yonan.
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