Pasta con le sarde e il finocchietto
Hello there, I hope you’re having a nice Friday and that you are looking forward to an awesome weekend. If instead like me you have to go to a continuous education meeting in about an hour and you’re probably planning to get some work done in the weekend because you are way behind schedule, while you will cook some horrible picnic food to bring at the preschool Sunday meeting, welcome aboard dear friend.
Did I mention I am way behind schedule? Oh dear, what am I doing here, I should get back to work.
Just wanted to mention how I love sardines. My mom used to fry them (cleaned fresh sardines dipped in some flour and deep fried, I totally love them). At a certain point it turned out frying food is not exactly healthy (such a pity, if you ask me). So we said goodbye to fried sardines.
Then I kept hearing marvels about pasta con le sarde e il finocchietto (wild fennel).
One day I was strolling around idly (it was a Sunday, my significant other was at work, my parents were on holidays, so what else was I supposed to do with a two year old, I wonder). So I stumble upon my cousin and it turns out her true Sicilian mother in law has prepared exactly pasta con le sarde. Now, I understand that you are not supposed to invite yourself at lunch, especially if the person you are talking with does not have the faintest idea to have another hungry human being around, but please understand, it was for a good cause. How could I possibly get acquainted with such a famous dish? Let me tell you, it is delicious.
I did want to replicate it, yet finding wild fennel was not so easy. Then my mother thankfully decided to plant one in her garden. It is a perennial plant (at least so I believe, it keeps popping up every summer and this is her third year: happy birthday darling!).
You can find here a perfect recipe and ensuing discussion on relevant declination and aberration by Ladri di ricette.
Please understand that if you do not have wild fennel, there is no reason to prepare this recipe. I am so sorry. I totally comprehend your devastated mind, but such is the case for most of us.
For my records:
1 onion minced
Oil (by the gallons)
Salt to taste
2 anchovies under salt
30 g raisins
30 g pine nuts
Pinch of saffron
1/3 cup water
Let the water evaporate
Boil three bunches of wild fennel in plenty of water. Homegrown wild fennel can be scorched and then drained.
Keep the water and cook in there 500 g bucatini according to package directions.
Chop the wild fennel, add it to the sauce.
Add 450 g fresh sardines, cleaned and chopped. Cook through (do not know how much, I have asked and will update you. Personally I cooked them a lot).
Drain the pasta. Dress it with the sauce.
Bake the pasta with some bread crumbs (ideally from the inner soft part mollica) until the bread crumbs absorbed the sauce and look nice and golden.