1 pound linguine, fresh or dried
4 vine-ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
6 anchovies (1 tin flat fillets), chopped
3/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley tops (4 or 5 handfuls), 1/2 coarsely chopped, 1/2 finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
12-15 fresh basil leaves, cut or torn into a chiffonade
Coarse salt and coarse black pepper
8 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 tins sardines (4 ounces each), drained and chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water boils, add the linguine and cook just until al dente. Drain well.
Combine the tomatoes, onions, capers, olives, anchovies and the coarsely chopped parsley in a medium bowl. Dress with the lemon juice and a healthy drizzle of EVOO, enough to lightly coat the salad, about 1-2 tablespoons. Sprinkle in the basil and salt and pepper, toss again and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Pre-heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat. To the hot pan, add the 1/4 cup of EVOO, about four times around the pan, and half the chopped garlic cloves. When the garlic speaks by sizzling in the EVOO, add the bread crumbs. Stir the bread crumbs until they are deeply golden in color. Add the finely chopped parsley and a liberal amount of salt and coarse black pepper. Transfer the bead crumbs to a dish and reserve.
Return the same skillet to the heat and add the three tablespoons of EVOO, about three times around the pan. Add the remaining garlic, sardines and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the hot, cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with the sardines. Add the bread crumbs to the pot and toss thoroughly to combine and evenly distribute the mixture. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve with the Puttanesca Salad alongside.
Tip: when translated literally from the French, "chiffonade" means "made of rags." In culinary terms it means finely cut strips or ribbons of leafy vegetables or herbs. To chiffonade basil leaves, stack them, roll them up and slice across the vein.