Sicilian Pasta – Pasta con le sarde (Pasta with sardines )

9 Apr


Where the heck is Sicily anyway ?

Why , its right here ………………………map-sicily-malta

And Yes  , my Sardine eating friends ,  I have finally found a dish that COOKS with sardines.

I have been looking for one for a long time , not really hard , just keeping an eye out for one , and now I’ve found it.

At first this looked like an experiment but it turned out to be VERY GOOD.

Even Jim thinks so !jim So its gotta be good !


Okay , So I also learned a couple of new things too !




buc2     bucatini


.  Bucatini originates from the region of Lazio, home to the capital city of Rome, Italy.   Bucatini  also known as perciatelli [pertfa’telli] is a thick spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center. The name comes from Italian :buco , meaning hole , while bucato or it’s Neapolitan variant perciato means pierced. Historically, Bucatini was made by rolling pasta dough over a smooth stick to attain the hollow center. ( and NO, I don’t know how they do that ! )


 It is a tubed pasta made of hard durum wheat  flour and water. Its length is 25–30 cm (10–12 in) with a 3 mm (1/8 inch) diameter. The average cooking time is nine minutes. In Italian cuisine  , it is served with buttery sauces, pancetta or guanciale , vegetables, cheese, eggs, and anchovies or sardines .

N othing is more Sicilian than pasta con le sarde. Fennel and sardines are so plentiful in Sicily that this dish jumps right out at you. And when combined with the sweet and sour flavors imported by the Arabs around 900 A.D., you get that classic Sicilian flavor palette. While this dish is ubiquitous in Sicily, it is not without controversy (as is all Italian food). On the western side of the island near Palermo, it’s made  with white wine and bread crumbs. On the eastern portion of the island, near Messina and Taormina, it is made with tomatoes.

This is  Nonna’s recipe:

  • 1/2 Lb Bucatini
  • 1 can drained – diced  tomatoes  dd2
  • 3 cans sardines bb4
  • 1 can  Anchovies in oil sac ( Make sure you get the kind from Sicily, they’re not as salty .
  •  Start thinking about these as a spice , not the salty , icky things on a pizza. )
  • 1/2 Lb – Fennel fronds ( that’s the leafy part )fennel
  • 2 Tbs – Pignoli (Pine nuts)pn2
  • 2 Tbs – Currants or raisins
  • 1 Medium onion – chopped
  • 3 Cloves of garlic – minced
  • Fresh flat Italian  parsley
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • 1 Tsp – Saffron if you have it if not, I used 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • Extra virgin  olive oil


  • Put the bucatini to cook in boiling water.
  • In a pot of water put to boil the fennel leaves cut in 3 parts.
  • In a saute` pan, saute` the  chopped onion and garlic in olive oil.
  • Empty cans of sardines and anchovies into a strainer and rinse slightly under kitchen faucet
  • As the garlic turns blonde add the sardines and the anchovies. Break up the sardines and the anchovies with a wooden spoon in large chuncks.
  • After 3 minutes add the currants and the pignoli.
  • Saute` for 1 minute and add the chopped tomatoes.
  • Adda big pinch of  hot pepper flakes , or more to taste.
  • Remove the fennel leaves from the hot water, chop into small pieces and add into the saute` pan.
  • In a pot with 2 cups of hot water add the turmeric (saffron ) and let it melt.  This water will be used to color the bucatini.
  • Drain the bucatini and put back into the pot.  Pour the saffron water and stir for a few seconds. Drain the bucatini again and pour in a serving bowl.
  • Pour the sarde sauce over the bucatini. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

Eat and Enjoy !

PS: Now you have 2 fennel bulbs left over. if you have something to do with them great. If not I read another recipe that diced up the outer layers and sauted them along with the onions. I think I’ll try that next time.




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