Pasta with sardines

Pasta with Sardines

This is it... legit and from Sicily. 

Sardines pasta is a traditional Sicilian delicacy, and, as usual for many Italian recipes, is the protagonist of a legend and a historical fact. The ingredients of this dish are typical of Sicily but also inspired by the foreign occupations of the island into the centuries. Here the recipe of this legendary dish!

Course: First course
Cuisine: Sicilian
Difficulty: Low
Preparation: 45 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Portions: 6 people 


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil from Sicily
fennel bulb, fronds reserved, bulb cut into batons
650gr whole fresh sardines, cleaned, spines and heads removed, roughly chopped
small onion, finely diced
1 794gr can of san marzano tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons dried currants, soaked in red wine vinegar and drained
Sicilian sea salt, to taste
1 pinch saffron threads (be generous)
450gr bucatini
fresh breadcrumbs, fried crisp in a bit of oil
red pepper flakes, to taste


1. In a blistering hot skillet, add olive oil and saute fennel until caramelized.
2. Season the sardines to taste with salt.
3. Lower the heat and salt the fennel to soften. In the skillet with the caramelized fennel, add the sardines and briefly saute. Add the onions, currants, and pine nuts and saffron and toss briefly.
4. Add tomatoes and season just the tomatoes with salt. The sauce should be slightly tight. Cook for about 10 minutes.
5.Bring a pot of copiously salted water to boil. Add the bucatini and cook 1 minute short of al dente. Drain the cooked pasta into the pan and toss to coat. The sauce will likely be too tight, so adjust by splashing the pan with the pasta cooking water. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with fennel fronds and a sprinkling of the toasted breadcrumbs and red pepper flakes. Add a drizzle of your best extra-virgin olive oil and enjoy.
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