Pasta con le sarde (sardines and wild fennel)

finocchio selvatico
I confess, my week of being home alone and eating badly has continued. Ramen noodles, cheese and crackers, take-away pizza; yesterday dinner was fish-fingers and Häagen-Dazs while watching “Reality Bites”. Lots of guilty pleasures. Still, by now I am really looking forward to my husband getting back from London tomorrow and me cooking from scratch again. In honour of that, here is a dish from the archives: pasta con le sarde (sardines and wild fennel). I love wild fennel, and this is a great dish I make when I find wild fennel in the market (or bring it back from Palermo.)

Pasta con le sarde (sardines and wild fennel)

300-400 grammes spaghetti
One white onion, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
300 grammes sardines, filleted
Five anchovy fillets
Spash of white wine, optional
A generous bunch of finoccio selvatico (fresh wild fennel)
50 grammes pine nuts
75 grammes sultanas or raisins
Salt and pepper
To serve: a handful of toasted breadcrumbs

Wash the wild fennel, removing any brown bits and cut off the lowest part and roots. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, and gently fry the chopped onion. Add the sardines (yes, with tail – we get them in the frozen food shop filleted like this) and the anchovy fillets, with a little white wine if you have some. Cover and cook gently for 7-8 minutes. Add half the fennel to the pan with the onion and sardines. Meanwhile, boil water for the pasta. Add pasta and the rest of the fennel to the boiling water, and cook until pasta is al dente.

20130705-214022.jpgDrain off the water, then pour pasta (with fennel) into the sauce. Add pine nuts and sultanas, toss, and serve with a sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs.
I am not sure what I will be cooking the next few days, but pumpkin risotto for sure, maybe a potato-leek soup, or something with cauliflower. Maybe melanzane alla parmigiana? Salmon with miso and sesame? The gas company is coming tomorrow to change our very old gas counter, so I have taken the afternoon off to wait for for them. Hopefully there will be time to also go stock up on vegetables and get some real food in the fridge again (not just jam, wine, pickled herring and mystery chutneys). Also, my husband will get home! Yeah!


14 thoughts on “Pasta con le sarde (sardines and wild fennel)

    1. krumkaker Post author

      Thnak you! Are sardines not delicious? I should cook more with them. Especially having found these ready to cook butterflied sardines im the “Surgelati” shop here, very easy.

    1. krumkaker Post author

      Thanks! Nice to have a little bit of Sicilian inspiration. The markets there sell little bags with a handful of pinoli and sultanas, just for this. I still have some frozen wild fennel from there.

  1. Ginger

    I hope you didn’t eat your fish fingers with the ice-cream! The sardines with fennel, on the other hand, sound like a fantastic combination 😉

  2. Rowena

    How wonderful that you’re able to source wild fennel like that! Never seen it up here (only the normal garden variety), but I know it’s fabulous prepared in the way that you did.

    1. krumkaker Post author

      Not so easy to find in Rome either, but it is great. Ideally I would be strolling in Sicily picking some… really must plan another trip there soon.


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