Serves 4

I managed to get three dishes out of the dozen sardines we bought from the market and although sardines are dead cheap, it seemed a shame to throw them away. I gave you a similar recipe a few weeks back with red mullet and this is an even simpler, poor man's version. When the kids clocked that I had refashioned the previous night's sardines I knew I was fighting a lost cause – and the next day, when I threw beaten eggs into the pasta and made it into a kind of frittata, they really did think that I was a tight old git.

4 servings of spaghetti
1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1-2 medium chillis, halved, seeded and finely chopped
4tbsp olive oil plus more if required
450g can of good-quality chopped tomatoes
8 fresh sardine fillets, cut into small pieces or 8 cooked and broken into pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few leaves of basil or bush basil, torn

Gently cook the onion, garlic and chilli in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes, without colouring, until soft. Add the tomatoes, season and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the pieces of cooked sardines and simmer for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions, then drain in a colander, reserving a little of the water to adjust the sauce if necessary. To serve, toss the pasta with the sauce, adding some cooking water and more olive oil to get a good coating consistency, then serve in warmed bowls scattered with basil.

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