Never be snobby about canned fish—as every student knows, it can be the secret behind plenty a quick and cheap meal. I’ve used sardines in this Italian standby, but mackerel would work just as well. The secret is to get the breadcrumbs beautifully golden, garlicky, and crunchy so they add a bit of texture to the pasta and fish.
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olive oilor use the oil from the canned sardines if you wish
Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add a glug of oil and, when hot, add half the chopped garlic along with the breadcrumbs. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden and toasted and the garlic is tender and lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper and toss together. Drain on paper towels.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, according to the package instructions.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium heat and add a little oil. Sauté the remaining garlic and the chile for 1–2 minutes. Flake the sardines into small pieces, then toss in the pan with the garlic and chile.
Drain the cooked pasta and add to the pan with the sardines. Toss to mix well. Add the oregano, taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
When ready to serve, stir the arugula leaves into the pasta and divide between serving plates. Garnish with the crisp garlic breadcrumbs and serve immediately.
HOW TO USE UP STALE BREAD
While stale bread is perfect for making breadcrumbs, it’s also great for croutons, and for making the classic Tuscan salad panzanella, based on stale bread, tomatoes, olives, peppers, and capers.