Pasta con le Sarde – A Sicilian Delicacy

Welcome back to my little corner of the internet!

Today we are going to make a recipe I came to love after the very first time I tried it.

When I went to Sicily for the first time, I knew very little about the Sicilian cuisine. In Palermo, we were told to try “Pasta con le sarde”, a traditional dish from Palermo. Its colours remind you of Sicily and its aroma brings you back to this wonderful island.

There are many different variations, some prefer bigger sardines, others do not like saffron, and some prefer adding some tomato sauce in it. But one thing is for sure: You cannot skip the fish nor the fennel (better if the wild variation you can find all over Sicily).

pasta con le sarde


1 kg Bucatini (or any other type of pasta)

1 kg Sardines, fresh

500 g fennel (if you cannot find it, you could also use dill)

5-6 anchovies in oil

50 g almonds, toasted

35 g raisins

35 g pine nuts

1 onion, chopped

1 pinch saffron

breadcrumbs, toasted



olive oil

Start boiling the fennel (you should use the green leaves) in salted water. Remove from the water, but keep the water to boil the pasta in later. Chop the fennel.

Clean the sardines, by removing the heads and spines.

In a big skillet, stir fry the onion in some oil with the anchovies. Cook until the onions are translucent and the anchovies have melted.

Add the raisins, pine nuts and saffron. Let it cook for a few minutes. Then add the fennel, sardines and season with salt and pepper. salsa

Leave to simmer on a gentle flame and mix every now and then, until it gets the consistency of a dense sauce.

Boil the pasta in the water you kept.

If the sauce appears to be very dry, you can add a few spoons of cooking water to it.

Mix the noodles with the sauce and serve with the almonds and breadcrumbs.


Do you know this recipe? Have you ever been to Sicily? Let me know in the comments below.



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