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Pasta con le Sarde (Pasta with Sardine Sauce)

This is a classic Sicilian dish from Palermo,created when the Saracens ruled Sicily. Sicilians would use the fennel that grows wild in the lava-rich soil which is a more intense taste than the cultivated.

  • 2 pounds fresh sardines
  • 1 1/2 pounds bulb fennel, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 4 anchovy filets
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 package saffron
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound bucatini
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

 

 

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Remove heads and tails from half the sardines. Cut in 1 inch pieces. Leave second half intact.

Wash and trim fennel. Put into pan with about 8 cups cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 5- 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon, drain in colander, then gently squeeze out water. Chop roughly. Reserve cooking water.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in frying pan. Sauté onions over medium heat until golden. Add chopped sardines and anchovies. As they cook, crush sardines with back of spoon to make a thick paste. Add pine nuts, raisins, saffron, salt and pepper.

In a separate pan, heat remaining oil and lightly sauté the fennel, removing to a separate bowl. Sauté the remaining whole sardines. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes, turning once gently to not break sardines.

Using fennel water, boil pasta until al dente, about 10 -= 12 minutes. Drain. Put in bowl and dress with half the sardine sauce.

Put a layer of dressed pasta in an ovenproof casserole. On top of that, put a layer of fennel, then a a layer of whole sardines with additional sauce. Continue until ingredients are used up, ending with a layer of bucatini. Cover with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top. Cover and bake in preheated 350°F oven 15 - 20 minutes.

Pasta may be served hot or cold.

Serves: 6

This recipe from www.inmamaskitchen.com        article about Sicilian cooking    more sicilian recipes

 

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