Pasta with Wild Fennels and "Runaway Sardines"
“Pasta con Sarde
“Pasta chi Sardi a
In Palermo, this pasta is made using the recipe of Pasta con Sarde without the fresh sardine, because the sardines…
ran away into the sea, or they were not available; double the amount of the salted anchovies in place of the
missing fresh sardines, to give additional taste.
lb wild fennels
of olive oil
medium onions, finely diced
anchovies fillets rinsed
Tip of a
teaspoon of saffron diluted in 3 tablespoons of water for the sauce
cup of currants or raisins soaked in hot water
1/3 cup of pine
Salt and pepper
lb. perciatelli or bucatini pasta
Tip of a
teaspoon of saffron diluted in 3 tablespoons of water for the pasta
Clean 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 lightly salted water to a boil, add fennels and cook, keeping pot at a medium
heat for 15 minutes or until fennels are very tender. Scoop out the boiled fennels with a slatted spoon and when
they are cooled, chop them very fine. Save the fennel water for cooking the pasta.
Over a medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a 3 quart saucepan.
Add diced onions, sauté until onions are golden, about 7 minutes.
In a 10 inch skillet, over a medium flame, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil add
2 tablespoons of sautéed onions and breadcrumbs. Keep stirring until crumbs are light brown. Place in a container
and set aside. In some parts of Sicily onions are substituted with sugar.
Over a medium flame, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a 4 quart saucepan.
Add the remaining sautéed onions, the salted anchovies and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until
anchovies are almost melted, about 3 minutes.
Add chopped fennels, increase heat to high and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add the diluted saffron, currant, pine nuts, add ½ cup of the reserved water from the fennels, and salt and pepper
to taste. Lower the flame and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Cook pasta according to package directions, reducing recommended cooking time by 2 minutes.
Drain pasta well and put back in pot. Mix in remaining saffron.
Toss in ½ of the sauce and 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs.
Mix for 2 minutes on low heat or until pasta and sauce are well combined.
Plate individual portions of pasta, add a spoonful of sauce and sprinkle each plate with breadcrumbs.
fennels are not available use the green foliage of the bulb fennels