Saffron, fennel, anchovies, pine nuts, and raisins flavor pasta con le sarde, a simple Sicilian dish. With its unique sweet-savory flavor, this pasta dish is a staple in Italian cuisine. Good any night of the week or holidays.
– Baby fennel bulbs with their frond– Fresh sardine– Extra virgin olive oil– Onion– Salt-cured anchovie– White wine– Bucatini, spaghetti, or linguini– Raisins or currant– Toasted breadcrumbs for garnish– Lemon zest
Boil a large pot of salted water. Tenderize baby fennel and fronds in 8–10 minutes. Drain and chop; reserve. Chopped fennel can be cooked with the onion if baby fennel is unavailable.
Preheat a large skillet with 1/4 cup olive oil. Sauté onions for 5 minutes until soft but not browned. Add white wine and anchovies and break up with a wooden spoon.
Put the pasta in salted water and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Add the reserved fennel, raisins, pine nuts, and pasta cooking water to the skillet.
Put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the sardines and cook uncovered until done. Add reserved pasta and plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Mix well. Sprinkle salt and pepper.