Pasta con Sarde-A Traditional Christmas Eve Pasta!!!
Bucatini with Sardines & Fennel
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!