Pasta with sardines

The real, sicilianissima recipe of the pasta with sardines to Palermo. A dish that passes through history and cultures that dominated Sicily, illuminated by the contrast between the sweet raisins and aromatic fennel, softened from the ' fatness’ Golden sardine and saffron. You will also find video recipe done step by step by clicking here on my You Tube Channel (to which, If you like, You can also subscribe).

The peculiarity and the difficulty of the original recipe for pasta with sardines Palermo style is just to find wild fennel, a spontaneous aromatic grass mountain, that in Sicily is widespread in various culinary preparations. If you do not find it and still want to try making pasta with sardines can use the green parts of the fennel common herbaceous: will not have the same flavor nor the same color, but it is the only surrogate can. Here in Rome, Actually, It is quite difficult to find even sardines (I find them on a regular basis just to market in piazza San Giovanni di Dio) and you may have to replace them with anchovies: replacing unfortunately is little valid, because it is very different from the meat texture. Try at least to choose larger anchovies you find.

In Palermo is also used to cook a little pasta in the oven already topped, like a timbale: confess that not very much appreciate this variant because the bucatini (which are the pasta of choice for this recipe, although many prepare spaghetti with sardines) not perfectly keep cooking, being empty inside, and for me the pasta is essential. I recommend, Also have a look at all my SICILIAN RECIPES and my RECIPES WITH BLUE FISH, good, healthy and affordable. Have a good day!


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  • 400 g of bucatini
  • 400 grams of sardines
  • 250 grams of mountain fennel
  • a tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 4 anchovy fillets in oil
  • 30 grams raisins
  • 30 grams pine nuts
  • 1 sachet of Saffron
  • half an onion
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • of peanut oil (frying), to taste
  • stale bread crumbs, to taste


For the pasta with sardines to Palermo, Clean and wash the wild fennel. Boil them in salted water for about 15 minutes: drain and set aside keeping the cooking water.

Clean and bone the sardines, including the small central spine, open it like a book. Chopping onions, put it in a pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and let it wither, then add the anchovies and mash them well until they dissolve in the hot oil.

At this point, Add the pine nuts, the raisins, the tomato paste. Add the sardines and searing. Combine the coarsely chopped fennel and the saffron sachet diluted in a tablespoon of hot water. Add a little’ the cooking water of wild fennel. Cook for about 10 minutes. Only at the end, and only if necessary, add salt.

Pasta with sardines (Sicilian recipe)

In a hot frying pan, brown the bread crumbs with a little olive oil, until golden and crunchy.

Boil the pasta in the cooking of wild fennel, seasoning salt if necessary. If necessary, lengthen with additional water. Drain the pasta al dente and season with the sauce of sardines. Sprinkle the pasta with sardines with fried bread crumbs and serve. If you want, You can also garnish with some fried Sardinian. Bon appétit!

THE PAIRING: We recommend a Sicilian wine. We chose it as one of the largest wine cellars of the island cooperatives: La cantina White Dove. The wine that we suggest is the “Prince of Granatey – Cricket", product with the vine Grillo 100%. It smells of tropical fruit that goes well with the strong aroma of wild fennel. The palate has a good acidity, suitable to degrease the greasiness of the condiment of this first traditional Sicilian dish.

Pasta with sardines


OPTIONS: Palermo is often used to make pasta with sardines in timbale, or cooked in the oven and abundantly covered with toast crumbs. It 'a variant that I do not love, but it is very practical if you want to prepare the dish in advance: In this case, boil the pasta less than the cooking time indicated by the pack and leave the softer sauce, so that cooking in the oven does not dry too. It takes just 10 minutes to heat oven to 200 degrees and 5 minutes grill that is formed on top of a nice golden crust. There is also a variant of the pasta with sardines Palermo (still fairly widespread) made without the tomato concentrate (in white). Finally, there is another version called "pasta with sardines in the sea", It realized without sardines but only with the fennel.

Pasta with sardines

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Samantha 25 May 2018 at 15:06

Great recipe! Followed step by step, really great! I recently tried, instead, Already prepared a preserve of pasta with sardines, that allowed me to save a lot of time in the kitchen! I'll linko, maybe trying it too you can give us an opinion 😀 bioveganfood.it/pasta-con-sarde-in-olio-extravergine-d-oliva-da-primi-piatti
You're a great <3

Ada Parisi 28 May 2018 at 11:41

Thanks Samantha, I do not know the brand of which you speak, and I honestly do not use ready-made products, as you will have seen by reading the site, but if I were to see her around I'll give it a chance. A warm greeting. ADA

ANDREA ARENA December 28, 2013 at 17:45

I found that my friend's mom cooked by the superlative, same ingredients of the recipe of Ada, with the addition proposed by Gabriele, though in very small quantities. Were single portions in tubs of aluminum and, curious thing, the bucatini seemed “pressed”, any of you knows something about?

Sicilians creative in the kitchen December 28, 2013 at 20:21

Ciao Andrea! I think it's a tradition of Palermo. My mother says that in Palermo do aluminium trays if you take away, or in trays at home, and then the press well before you put it in the oven, with the dressing to which mentioned Gabriele in ample quantities, otherwise the juice inside is likely to dry out a bit. I don't, to put it in the oven, because the pasta continues to cook and for me the fact that it is al dente, indeed more than al dente, It is essential and if you really drains them too raw bucatini struggles to ' force them’ in a pan. I prefer fresh! Hug, ADA

Irfan Malik January 19, 2013 at 14:50

great, excellent!!! I do like that!!!

fratelli_ai_fornelli January 19, 2013 at 15:23


Gabriel June 19, 2013 at 00:24

If I may : After you add the dressing to the pasta , storing everything in a casserole that duly goes in the oven and more specifically in the top shelf near the grill that once propelled , in just 5 minutes , will give an effect with chestnuts at the top of the dough.
the pasta is served along with the toasted bread crumbs!!!
to toast the breadcrumbs, put oil in a pan and melt a drizzle or two anchovy fillets , now add the bread crumbs and just before the fire add a generous sprinkling of sugar, stir the bread crumbs that will now crystallised sugar…
turn off the heat and put the bread crumbs in a small bowl to bring to the table
PS: seasoning I'll add even 4/5 capers

conunpocodizucchero.it January 16, 2013 at 16:13

He thinks I'm a milanese married a Sicilian and none of her family never wanted to give me the recipe for pasta with sardines! Good thing there's you! Grazieeeeeee

fratelli_ai_fornelli January 16, 2013 at 17:00

The recipe for pasta with sardines is sacred! 😉


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