Phil Franco's Note:
This is a simple, but classic, Sicilian pasta that has Arabic overtones. The sauce is made with fennel, raisins, sardines and pine nuts. It is usually spooned over a broad or tubular pasta and then topped with a generous sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs. While I have chosen a simple toss and top application, some cooks prefer to create multiple layers using these ingredients. The breadcrumbs in the dish are used in place of cheese and at one time they actually served that function for the poor. They also have a symbolic importance for those who observe St. Joseph's Day. As you know, Joseph was a carpenter and the breadcrumbs that crown this dish are used because they resemble the sawdust that would be found on the floor of a carpenter's workshop. Pasta con sarde is also known as St. Joseph's pasta, and in those communities where his feast day is still celebrated, you'll find this pasta on family tables, as well as on symbolic altars set up to feed the poor.
My Private Note
Units: US | Metric
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 lb fennel, bulb finely chopped, fronds chopped and reserved
- 1/2 tablespoon fennel seed, crushed
- 1 lb fresh sardine (trimmed and deboned, yielding 1 and 1/4 lbs)
- 1/2 lb pasta (bucatini)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/8 cup capers, rinsed
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- 3Combine the raisins, red-pepper flakes and wine in a bowl; set aside.
- 4In a small saute pan, melt the butter.
- 5Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden brown.
- 6Transfer to a bowl, stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and set aside.
- 7In a heavy skillet, heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium-low heat.
- 8When hot, add the onion, garlic, fennel bulb and fennel seeds.
- 9Season with salt.
- 10Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is tender, about 25 minutes.
- 11Add the wine mixture and the sardines, breaking them into pieces with a fork.
- 12Bring to a boil and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
- 13Add enough salt to the boiling water so that it tastes salty.
- 14Boil the bucatini until 'al dente', 6 to 8 minutes; strain.
- 15Return the pasta to the pot and set over low heat.
- 16Fold in the fennel-sardine mixture.
- 17Toss in the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil.
- 18Add 3/4 of the fennel fronds, the pine nuts, the capers and a quarter of the bread crumbs.
- 19Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- 20Divide pasta among plates and sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs and fennel fronds over each.
- 21Serve immediately. Serves 2.
- 22That's it!
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Nutritional Facts for Pasta (Bucatini) Con Le Sarde (Sardines)
Serving Size: 1 (715 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 2
- Amount Per Serving
- % Daily Value
- Calories 1495.7
- Calories from Fat 636
- Total Fat 70.7 g
- Saturated Fat 10.3 g
- Cholesterol 330.2 mg
- Sodium 1658.3 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 133.0 g
- Dietary Fiber 13.9 g
- Sugars 16.7 g
- Protein 79.1 g