Islands: Sicily Servings: 2 people Difficulty level: 2
Main Dish Prep time: 00:30 Cook time: 00:25
Prepare the sardines if using fresh.
Soak the raisins in warm water, to cover, in a small bowl. Bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil. Cook the fennel bulb for 10 minutes. Reserve the liquid. Remove the bulb with a slotted spoon and pat dry. Finely chop the bulb.
PEEL and finely chop the onion.
Heat most of the olive oil in a skillet over moderate heat. Sauté the onion for a few minutes. Add the tomato paste with a ladle full of fennel cooking water.
Drain the raisins and add them along with the pine nuts. Cook for 5 minutes. OPEN the sardines flat and add them; cook for a few minutes, occasionally turning.
Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, adding more fennel water as needed to prevent sticking.
Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and cook the anchovies for a few minutes, over low heat, mashing them with a fork. Add them to the sardine sauce.
Prepare the pasta:
Bring the reserved fennel cooking water to a boil, adding more water. Cook the pasta "al dente." Drain and transfer to a serving plate. Mix in the sauce and serve with pecorino cheese.
Notes: Fresh sardines have been used in Italian cooking since ancient times. They can be grilled, baked, fried, or incorporated into pasta for delicious sauces.
Raisins /50 g
Fennel bulb 1
Small onion 1
Olive oil 5 tbs
Pine nuts /50 g
Fresh sardines 8 or canned, rinsed sardines
Dried macceroncini (small macaroni)/ or Conchiglie (shells) 1 lb/ 500 g
Anchovies in oil 3 fillets
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste