It seemed, though, that good canned sardines and fennel bulb could stand in. Adapting a traditional recipe from Made in Sicily, by Giorgio Locatelli, following guidelines from a recipe using canned sardines from Epicurious.com, did the trick.
Tip: Leave out the saffron, pine nuts and fennel seed if you don't have them on hand. You'll still have a tasty dish.
Pasta With Sardines
Makes 6 servings
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup each: dry white wine, chicken broth
Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
3 cans (3.75 to 4.37 ounces each) sardines
in oil, drained
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 to 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted, see note
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, toasted, see note
1. Place the raisins in a cup of hot water to soak, 20 minutes. Cook the spaghetti in a stockpot of well-salted boiling water until al dente.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the fennel and onion; season with a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 10 minutes.
3. Add the wine and broth; allow to reduce slightly. Drain raisins; add raisins, saffron and half the sardines to the skillet. Break up the sardines into the sauce with a fork. Simmer, 1 minute. Coarsely chop remaining sardines in bite-size pieces; gently stir into the sauce along with fennel seeds.
4. Drain the pasta, saving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Add the spaghetti to the skillet, tossing with the sauce and adding a little pasta water to loosen the sauce, if needed. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and breadcrumbs.
Note: For pine nuts, toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, watching carefully to prevent burning. For breadcrumbs, toast, also in a dry skillet, until crisp.
- Adapted from Giorgio Locatelli's
Made in Sicily and Epicurious.com.
Per serving: 577 calories, 17 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 80 g carbohydrates, 27 g protein, 554 mg sodium, 6 g fiber.