Pasta con le Sarde

Pasta con le Sarde

A simple, but flavorful dish of pasta with sardines, fennel, garlic, pine nuts, and currants, pasta con le sarde is the national dish of Sicily.
  • Preparation:
  • Cooking:
  • Total:
  • Serves: 2 persons



  1. Step 1

    Gather the ingredients.
  2. Step 2

    Add currants, wine, and orange juice to a small bowl. If using saffron, add that as well. Set aside to soak.
  3. Step 3

    Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel seed and toast until slightly darkened and fragrant. Remove seeds to a small bowl. If you have a mortar and pestle, you can lightly crush them. If not, leave them whole. Set aside.
  4. Step 4

    Set a large pot of water over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add salt followed by pasta . Cook until almost al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain pasta, reserving a little of the pasta water. Coat pasta with a small amount of oil to prevent it from sticking together as it cools.
  5. Step 5

    Heat skillet again over medium heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot but not smoking, add the sardines. Sear for 1 to 2 minutes, then add fennel (reserving fronds), onion, and garlic. Cook until vegetables have slightly softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Step 6

    Add raisins with soaking liquid, toasted fennel seeds, and pine nuts. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring periodically, until liquid has reduced by about two-thirds. Remove from heat.
  7. Step 7

    Add cooked pasta to skillet with sardine mixture. Toss well. If sauce seems a little dry, add a small amount of the reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Step 8

    Top with fennel fronds and serve immediately.