Wednesday, May 7

Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta for Your Man

Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Osteoporosis is a condition overwhelmingly associated with women. That's because of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, 8 million are female. That also means, however, that 2 million are men. And, unfortunately, another 12 million men are at risk for developing it.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), the most common risk factors for osteoporosis in men include:
  • prolonged exposure to certain medications, such as steroids to treat asthma or arthritis
  • chronic disease that affects the kidneys, lungs, and intestines, altering hormone levels
  • undiagnosed low levels of testosterone
  • smoking
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • low calcium intake
  • lack of physical activity
  • bone loss associated with older age
  • heredity
  • race--though men from all ethnic groups may develop osteoporosis, white men appear to have the greatest risk for it
Since osteoporosis afflicts mostly women, it remains under diagnosed in men. If you (or a special guy in your life) has some of the above risk factors, then discuss them with your doctor. Other concerning signs of osteoporosis in men include:
  • loss in height
  • change in posture
  • pain in the lower back
  • sudden bone fractures or breaks
Like women, men who are diagnosed with osteoporosis should:
  • Get enough calcium every day. The NOF recommends 1,000 mg of calcium daily for men under age 50 and 1,200 mg for men over 50.
  • Get an adequate amount of vitamin D which helps the body absorb calcium. Men under the ago of 50 need 400-800 IU of vitamin D each day, while men over 50 need 800-100o IU.
  • Engage in regular physical activity that includes a combination of weight bearing exercise and resistance training.
And, of course, eat foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D. I make sardine dishes for Jeff because he loves them, and because I love him and want him to have healthy bones. One (3.75 ounce) can of sardines is about 150 calories and 20 grams of protein; it provides 10% of the daily recommended allowance of iron and a whopping 20% of calcium. You can buy imported Italian sardines in olive oil (which are more expensive but much better according to Jeff) or sardines in spring water.

Then whip up this pasta dish in under 15 minutes. The bold flavors of sardines and broccoli rabe are tempered with sweet raisins and zesty lemon.

And don't forgot to check out Nuria's Marinated Sardines over at Spanish Recipes. I never knew sardines could look so pretty.

Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta

Sicilian Sardine and Broccoli Rabe Pasta
Serves 4
Print recipe only here.

1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons raisins (soaked in a little white wine)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cans sardines in olive oil, drained
2 teaspoons lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
8 ounces rigatoni

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Boil broccoli rabe for 1 ½-2 minutes; drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Shocking the rabe will maintain its vivid green color and stop it from cooking.

Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with some dry white wine. Let them soak about 10 minutes to become infused with the flavor of the wine.

Crush the pine nuts. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat add the pine nuts and breadcrumbs. Shake pan in a back-and-forth motion until they are are golden and aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add garlic and shallots, sauteing 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drain the broccoli rabe, pat dry, and add to the skillet.
Meanwhile, drain the sardines and remove the backbones. Using a fork, break sardines
into small pieces and add to the skillet. Add the drained raisins, lemon juice, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, and salt. Sauté 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta in salted water according to directions, being sure to keep it al dente. Add cooked pasta to the skillet with the broccoli rabe mixture, and toss in the toasted bread crumb mixture and fresh parsley.

Plate the pasta, finishing it off with a drizzle of quality extra virgin olive oil.

You might also like these guy-friendly, high-calcium meals:

Breakfast Egg Sandwich with Avocado and Chipotle-Mayo

New England Clam Chowder

Spinach, Nutmeg, and Ricotta Pie

Shrimp Tacos with Citrus-Avocado Salsa

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Swati said...

Thanks Susan for sharing some very helpful information..
I particularly like the Breakfast Egg Sandwich with Avocado and Chipotle-Mayo..My hubby would really like it and the spinach-ricotta pie looks great too...

vb said...

The sardine-pasta sounds delicious. I will pick up sardines on my next trip to the Italian import store.

Kalyn Denny said...

Oh yes, this sounds wonderful.

Elizabeth said...

We often have broccoli rabe and ham but it hadn't occurred to us to try it with sardines instead of ham! Even though it makes perfect sense. But the raisins are a complete surprise - I would never in a million years have thought of adding those.

I bet this dish would work with anchovies as well.


Peter M said...

Save for the raisins, I'm all over this dish as the star is one of my fave fishies...the sardine!

Anonymous said...

You are so wonderful! I always feel well taken care of after reading one of your posts. You always look out for the rest of us - making sure we have healthy bones for kickball with our grandkids!

xoxox Amy

P.S. Sardines is a fave of my man - thanks for the recipe!

Simona Carini said...

Very nice and informative. I love broccoli rabe. I am afraid I did not say this, but I will participate in your event, of course.

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

That looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

This sounds great!

I'm always recommending sardines to people as a fantastic healthy convenience food. It always amazes me how many people say they don't like them but when you press them it turns out that they've never had them.

Have bookmarked this recipe to try later. My other half is a devoted milk drinker so I don't worry about his bones too much but happily he love sardines as much as I'll look forward to us trying this one out together.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

swati-Oh, that's wonderful! Thank you.

vb-I hope you enjoy it!

kalyn-Thanks so much!

ejm-It would definitely work with anchovies. The sweetness of the raisins provides a pleasant contrast to the bold sardines and bitter rabe.

peter-You're not a fan of raisins? I'll have to work on that. ;)

amy-Aw, that's awfully kind. (I used to love kickball!)

simona-Well, I certainly appreciate that. Many thanks.

wheeler-Thanks a lot!

sophie-They are convenient. Jeff loves them just with crackers or toasted bread for a light lunch. I hope you and your husband try the pasta!

Chef Erik said...

I love sardines, always have. Your recipes sounds devine. I'll have to try it.

Unknown said...

aaahhh... my love is a heavy-smoker. it's hard for us to warn him not to smoke. it's just like his giving up on chocolate, he wants it. this can also happen when he wants to quit smoking. so far, he's a healthy man, but who knows in 10 years time? i should forward this post to him. thanks, susan!

glamah16 said...

I like pasta,I like broccoli rabe, and I like sardines. However I never though of combining them. Thanks.

Unknown said...

I should try feeding my sous chef this ^_^

Anonymous said...

That looks so delicious, love the sardine and broccoli combo, but might have to change the sardine to serve it for my poor dh (he's allergic to fish)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a great combination! A tasty and healthy pasta dish... I love it!



Anonymous said...

A great recipe Susan...and looks SO appetizing!

Anonymous said...

Hi,beautiful recipes and great photos!!!
Compliments,it looks delicious.

Nic said...

Gorgeous photos, especially that last one. I love raisins in pasta!

Anonymous said...

awww..because you love him. That is so cute :)

Jeanne said...

Interesting info - it is true that people don't generally associate osteoporosis with men, but of course they are susceptible too. This pasta looks fantastic - nice to see a recipe featuring tinned sardines. They are much loved in our house but seldom make it into anything more exciting than my favourite sardines on toast mashed with a touch of mayo and Tabasco:)

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a wonderful dish! Can't wait to try it on Jack!

Patricia Scarpin said...

That looks healthy, fresh and yummy, Susan! I have never had sardines with pasta, great idea!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Raisins and sardines - I could never have come up with that combo, but it sounds pretty tasty, particularly for us salt/sweet people!

Núria said...

Hey! There you are, Susan! Perfect dish :D I love it, I could eat one can of sardines in olive oil all by myself!!!! Your ingredients look like a symphony in this dish, really flavourful... and healthy!

Annie said...

This sounds like a great dish. I don't think I have ever used sardines before. But now I really would like to try them.
I make a broccoli rabe pasta dish similar to this one anyway, so why not add sardines! Thanks Susan for the recipe and reminding us how important it is to eat healthy to stay healthy...

Anonymous said...

Interesting recipes

Nina Timm said...

It is hard to imagine that a meal that looks so yummee can be so good for you. I love sardines in any form.

Rachael said...

I started drooling at the word "raisins". Sounds lovely! Salt, bitter, sweet, with pasta, perfect.

Brittany said...

Susan- I just love your blog. It's so beautifully put together, and above all, it makes me crave foods that are actually HEALTHY!
Keep fighting the good fight : )

brandin + kari said...

I just always want to make everything that you post! That is the sign of a good blogger.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Susan, My hubby would be all over this dish, he loves sardines, and raisens, Yes, he even likes raisens in his meatballs, sometimes I'll humor him and throw some in.(he gets excited like a little kid!) I will definately have to make this for him, he will love it!

Manggy said...

Sardines are one of my favorite things to eat, Susan-- unfortunately I'm the only one in my family who does so on a regular basis!! I love it straight outta the can, haha :) So much for being a gourmet! This looks really healthy, and I would love to get my hands on broccoli rabe-- someday, sigh.

Cris said...

Love when you associate different recipes at the end of the post related to the subject.

Kajal@aapplemint said...

i never knew all that. man its scary !!! gr8 post babe ! and a gr8 dish to do with it.

Veron said...

Thanks for raising the awareness that osteoporosis is not only a disease from women. I love sardines and I would so love it in pasta...delicious!

K Allrich said...

Sardines rock.

Susan, thank you for spreading awareness about osteoporosis. I fell and broke my hip last October- due to celiac disease induced osteoporosis. I am 53. And active. And I eat well--- but celiac takes its toll.

Make this with gluten-free pasta and you've got a bone building recipe for those of us with celiac disease.

Food is our medicine!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

erik-Then you should enjoy this pasta dish.

arfi-Oh, I do hope you can help convince him to give up cigarettes.

coco-Then I hope you try it!

rita-He'll think you're a great boss, for sure!

zita-It's great w/out them too. Or you could substitute anchovies or sauteed pork.

rosa-Thanks a bunch!

ronell-It tastes pretty appetizing too!

parolediburro-Thank you so much.

nicisme--I love their sweet, chewy texture too.


jeanne-Jeff loves 'em on toast too, but he really loves them in this pasta.

ann-Hope he likes it!

patricia-It's a great combination of textures.

TW- Is there a better combo than salty/sweet?

nuria-A "symphony"? Much gratitude for that compliment!

annie-It's just a condition that I really think people should know about. So it's my pleasure to do my small part.

anonymous-thank you.

nina-It is, I swear!

rachael-What's not to love about raisins, right?

brittany-Now that is music to my ears. :)

anticiplate-How sweet of you to say, thank you.

marie-Then I hope you make it for him!

manggy-No broccoli rabe? Oh, no.

cris-Thanks, I appreciate that.

kate-Well I'm glad you do now.

veron-It's my pleasure.

karina-I wasn't aware of celiac-induced osteoporosis. Thank you so much for alerting me to it. I'm sure my readers will appreciate it as well.

Katie Zeller said...

I would love this! But, when I have sardines for lunch (which I do often - just with biscuits) mon mari leaves the house... He's just not a fish guy!
I have, finally, gotten him to eat yogurt for a snack.... Rather than some nutritional waste.

Susan @ SGCC said...

Another delicious dish from my past! My dad used to love this. Mom hated sardines, so she would never make it. My grandmother felt sorry so she made it for him. I'm putting this on my menu for this week. It looks fabulous!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

katiez-Hey, yogurt is a good step in the right direction.

susan-Ah, Italian mothers and their sons. :) I hope you like this dish!

Julie said...

This is my kind of pasta! I love broccoli rabe and sardines.

Jaime said...

i'm not a fan of broccoli rabe but your photos are gorgeous :)

Jonny Hamachi said...


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