An Italian Recipe: Bucatini con Sarde

December 3, 2020  |  By Peg Kern
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We’re heading into another weekend, and at The International Kitchen we love to use our Friday blog to give our readers new recipes to try. This weekend, why not go Sicilian and make Chef Vincenzo’s pasta dish, Bucatini con sarde (Bucatini with sardines)? Sicilians love mixing flavors (sweet, sour, salty), and you get a bit of everything in this classic dish.

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Bucatini con sarde

Sicilian pasta with sardines, made on a Sicily cooking vacation

Serves: 6
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Cook method: boil


  • 400 gr. (14 oz) Bucatini pasta (or spaghetti)
  • 500 gr. (17.5 oz) fresh sardines
  • 3 large onions (sliced very thinly)
  • 100 gr. (3.5 oz) fennel leaves
  • 100 gr. (3.5 oz) pine nuts
  • 100 gr. (3.5 oz) plump raisins
  • Saffron
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 200 gr. (7 oz) slightly toasted breadcrumbs

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1. Fry the sardines in olive oil so that the meat separates from the bones. Let cool, and clean the sardines.

2. In a large and heavy skillet, sweat the onions with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, boil the fennel without salt for about 20 minutes. Take out and chop, reserving the water in which you cooked the fennel.

4. When the onions are done, add tomato paste and stir.

5. Add the sardines and the fennel leaves, and continue cooking at very low temperature with a lid.

6. Add the pine nuts and raisins.

7. Add some of the reserved water from the fennel pot and the saffron.

Palermo Sicily 8. Add salt to the reserved fennel water, bring to a boil and cook the pasta (be sure to undercook it!). Take out the undercooked pasta, transfer it to the skillet, mix well, and transfer the whole thing to a baking pan/dish. Make sure that it’s not too dry.

9. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 300 F for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with more bread crumbs, and serve warm (not too hot).

Try great pasta and seafood recipes:

Contact us for more information about Chef Vincenzo, or see our website for details about our cooking vacations in Sicily including our week-long culinary vacation Authentic Sicilian Experience for the Food Lover and Best of the West.

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