Recipe - Food from Sardinia Italy - Con le Sarde (Pasta with Sardines)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, from Sardina, this popular local dish heavily features .. yes .. Sardines!. It probably also is heavily influenced from its time under Arab occupation.
2 pounds fresh sardines
1 1/2 pounds thickly sliced fennel
A good splash of Olive Oil
2 onions, finely sliced
4 anchovy filets
a good handful of pine nuts
a good handful of raisins
1/2 to 1 teaspoon saffron
Salt and pepper
1 pound bucatini/linguine or other long pasta (even Spaghetti)
1) Preheat oven to 350°F
2) Head and Tail half of the sardines and cut into 1 inch pieces (leaving the other half intact but topped and tailed of course!)
3) Wash and trim the fennel and boil until tender then drain, keeping the water in a container.
4) Gently squeeze the fennel and add the juices to the above drained liquid. Chop fennel into chunks
5) Heat some oilve oil and saute the onions until golden.
6) Add chopped sardines and anchovies, crushing the sardines to make a thickish paste. Cook for about ten minutes until tender.
7) Add pine nuts, raisins, saffrom, salt & pepper.
8) In another pan, saute the fennel in olive oil remove and keep.
9) In the same oil, saute the rest of the sardines and cook gently, trying not to break up the sardines.
10) Using the reserved fennel water (and adding more if not sufficient), boil the pasta until done .. probably around 10 minutes.
11) Drain pasta and dress with half of the sardine sauce
12) In an ovenproof dish, put a layer of pasta, then add a layer of fennel, a layer of whole sardines plus some sauce and continue until all ingredients are used, ending with a layer of the pasta.
13) Cover with the breadcrumbs, cover and bake in the pre heated oven (350 F) for around 15-20 minutes.
This dish can be served hot or cold.