Sardines, fennel and a breadcrumb topping make this classic Sicilian pasta dish a great summer classic! Traditional Pasta con le Sarde is served with fresh sardines as they are in abundance in Sicily. However, canned still turns out delicious and a way to use the canned sardines in your pantry! Along with fresh sardines, bucatini is also the traditional pasta used in this recipe but your favorite pasta can be used.
If you haven’t had this dish before you may be skeptical on the currants but they really bring the dish together. My favorite part is the breadcrumb mixture that tops the pasta! It is sweet and adds a texture element.
Pasta con le Sarde
Fresh sardines served with bucatini pasta and bread crumbs.
Prepare the breadcrumb topping
Place breadcrumbs in a cold pan and place over medium-low heat. Gently heat to brown the breadcrumbs for 10 minutes. The breadcrumbs are done when they are a darn golden color. Remove from heat and add the sugar and olive oil.
Prepare the sauce
Dice an onion and simmer on medium-low heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the fennel stocks and continue cooking until both are tender. Add the cleaned sardine fillets, fennel greens, raisins and saffron and wine if using it. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sardines are flaky and cooked.
Prepare the pasta
Add bucatini into a pot of well salted boiling water. Cook for 12 minutes (or as directed on the box). Two minutes before al-dente remove from the water and add to the sauce. Mix and finish cooking for 2 minutes in the sauce.
Serve topped with breadcrumb mixture.