with Fresh Anchoives
“Spaghetti con Alici e
“Pasta chi Masculini a Catanisi”
If the Pasta con Sarde, pasta with sardines, is very popular in the western part of Sicily, Spaghetti with
Anchovies is equally popular in the eastern part of the Island.
The anchovies are abundant in the sea waters around Catania and the local fishermen bring their catch to the
neighborhood to offer and sell the fish fresh and wholesome.
The spaghetti with anchovies synthesizes the taste and smell of the product and produce of Catania and the
vicinity. The fresh anchovies used in this preparation have the smell of the Ionic sea, the wild fennels the scent
winds coming from Mt. Etna, the young peas and the tomato have a complex taste coming from the richness of the
A portion of spaghetti with anchovies, wild fennels and peas either homemade or sampled in a restaurant, is an
interesting dish that will stimulate your taste and that will always provide a new experience even to the most
tablespoons of olive oil
medium onion, finely diced
of 6 oz. tomato paste
salted anchovies, rinsed, filleted and chopped
peas, if using frozen, blanch them in lightly salted water
and pepper to taste
Clean the wild fennels by removing and discarding the roots and any discolored fronds. Rinse a few times and set
Bring a large pot with 5 quarts of water,1 tablespoon of salt and the fennels to a boil, turn to a medium heat and
cook fennels for 15 minutes or until very tender. Scoop out the boiled fennels with a slatted spoon and when they
are cooled, chop them very small. Set the water aside and save it to cook the pasta in.
In a 10 inch skillet, over a medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the chopped fennels and cook for 30
minutes, adding some water if they became too dry.
If wild fennels are not available use the green foliage of bulb fennels.
Remove the heads and place the anchovies in a basin with cold water. Using your finger and with the help of a
teaspoon, remove scales and discard interior. Open it and insert your finger under the bone to remove it, remove
any other visible bone and set aside.
When the anchovies are deboned, rinse fish and place in a colander.
Over a medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch sauté pan.
Add diced onions and sauté until golden, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add tomato paste and sauté adding 2 cups of the reserved fennel water a little at the time. Raise heat to high and
cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Lower the flame, add salted anchovies, the peas and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the sautéed fennels, the fresh
anchovies and some more reserved fennel water to give the sauce the desired consistency. Do not make it too watery
nor to thick. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, taste for salt and pepper.
Bring the water reserved from the fennels to a boil and cook the spaghetti in it according to package directions,
reducing recommended cooking time by 2 minutes.
Drain pasta well and put back in pot.
Toss in one half of the sauce and mix for 2 minutes on a low heat or until pasta and sauce are well combined.
Plate individual portions of pasta, and garnish with a spoonful of sauce and serve immediately.
Spaghetti can be substituted with bucatini or perciatelli.