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TN&M in the Kitchen - Courgetti con le Sarde

By: Steve Keenan Journalist | Specialist in rural tourism

Tuscany Now & More invites Ceri Jones, a Natural Chef working as a cooking teacher, food/recipe writer at Natural Kitchen Adventures and yoga retreat chef, to share her healthy recipe for Courgetti con le Sarde. As a Natural Chef, her goal is to put seasonal, nutritious food at the heart of cooking and champion local produce.

The inspiration for this dish, as Ceri explains, which was no doubt taken from a classic Sicilian recipe for Pasta con le Sarde (sardines), came from a supermarket recipe card. “It’s been tweaked here and there to suit my nutritional preferences” and features spiralized courgettes which make a healthier alternative to pasta. Pine nuts and sultanas make an appearance — a delicious combination which you might know from the renowned Tuscan chestnut cake Castagnaccio — along with lemon zest, capers, chives and garlic. This simple, light and healthy dish makes the perfect summery dish, or late-night dinner recipe. 

Courgetti con le Sarde (Sardines)

Serves 4 - Cook in 20 minutes


- 6 courgettes (zucchini), julienned

- 500g tinned sardines, drained and oil reserved

- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

- 4 tablespoons of sultanas

- 4 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted

- 4 tablespoons of capers

- 2 tablespoons chopped chives

- Zest and juice of half a lemon

- Pepper 



Step 1

Begin by tipping a bit of the oil drained from the sardines into a saucepan. Sauté the finely chopped garlic for a few minutes until soft. Add the julienned courgettes to another saucepan, sauté over low heat in a little of the sardine oil until softened (approximately 3-5 minutes).

Step 2

Add the sardines to the garlic pan, breaking them up with the back of your wooden spoon, and stir well. Next add the sultanas, pine nuts and capers and stir well. Cook for a few minutes until the sardines are warmed through.

Step 3

When the courgettes are ready, add them to the saucepan and toss all the ingredients together, distributing the sauce evenly through the courgettes. Scatter in the chives, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. Transfer to a serving dish and pepper to taste. Buon Appetito!

Want to dive more into authentic, traditional cuisine? Our luxury Concierge Service can arrange for a local cook or professional chef to come to your villa in Italy,  and teach you the secrets of Italian cuisine. 

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