Pasta con Sarde-A Traditional Christmas Eve Pasta!!!

Bucatini with Sardines & Fennel

pasta con sarde

pasta with sardines, fennel and tomatoes

This is my version of a traditional Sicilian pasta dish eaten on special occasions such as Christmas Eve! Bucatini, linguine or fettuccine are all fabulous choices for this dish! The addition of saffron, pine nuts and raisins speaks of the regions rich ethnic history! You will really enjoy this sweet, salty,spicy mix of flavors!! Serve with a crisp dry white wine.

1 lb Bucatini pasta

1/2 cup olive oil

2 large onions, sliced

1 large fennel, sliced thinly (bulb and fronds)

6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

3 Tables tomato paste

1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed with juices

large pinch of dried oregano

handful of chopped fresh basil

salt and pepper, fresh ground

4-5 anchovies, drained and chopped

4 cans of portuguese or french sardines, drained

1 cup golden raisins, soaked for 30 minutes, then drained

1/3 cup of pine nuts

1 tsp saffron soaked in warm water

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

seasoned italian bread crumbs, prepared with olive oil

In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium high

add onions and garlic, brown

add fennel and cook for 3 minutes

add tomato paste and stir

add crushed whole tomatoes and all juices

add oregano and basil and anchovy

simmer for 30 minutes, stir occasionally

In  the meantime bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook Bucatini until al dente

Return to the sauce and add sardines, raisins, pine nuts and the saffron with water

Drain Bucatini and add it to the sauce

stir to blend sauce with pasta

season to taste with ground salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes(if desired)

Serve immediately with parsley garnish and seasoned bread crumb sprinkles. Serve this dish with a simple romaine salad and a good bottle of chianti wine.

This dish is eaten traditionally with seasoned bread crumbs instead of cheese. To prepare bread crumbs, simply mix them with a dried italian seasoning blend and a bit of olive oil, mix thoroughly to blend flavors. the breadcrumbs can be stored in the refrigerator indefinitely.

A simply delicious pasta dish, Enjoy!! Traditionally, depending upon the region of sicily, this dish is made with or without the addition of tomatoes!

fresh fennel

fresh fennel