clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon

Marcella Hazan’s Sicilian Sardine Pasta

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian


The earthy undertones and perfectly salty savory flavors of this traditional dish transport you to the seaside of Sicily one bite at a time.



• 1 tin sardines, drained

• 1 fennel bulb, thinly diced,

• 1-2 tsp fennel pollen

• salt, to taste

• 1 tbsp raisins

• 1/2 cup olive oil

• 2 tbsp chopped onion

• 4 at anchovy fillets

• 1/3 cup pine nuts

• 1 1/2 tbsps tomato paste,

dissolved in 1 cup

lukewarm water together

with a large pinch of

powdered saffron

• black pepper, ground

fresh to taste

• 3/4 lb – 1 lb of bucatini

• 1/2 cup dry, unflavored

bread crumbs, lightly toasted in the oven or in a skillet


1. Soak the raisins in several changes of cold water for no less than 15 minutes, then drain and chop.

2. Bring a large pot of salted (heavily salted – as salty as the sea! This will add flavor to your pasta) water to boil, and cook bucatini until al dente, 10-12 minutes.

3. In a large saute pan, place the olive oil, onion and chopped fennel, and turn on the heat to medium. Cook the onion and fennel, stirring, until it becomes translucent. Add the anchovies, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, mashing them from time to time with the back of the spoon.

4. When the anchovies are nearly dissolved to a paste, return the pan to the burner over medium heat. Add the pine nuts, chopped raisins, the tomato paste and saffron solution, salt, fennel pollen, and a few grindings of black pepper, and turn over all ingredients to season evenly. Continue to cook at medium heat, letting all the liquid in the pan bubble away. Add the sardines, turning them over in the sauce two or three times, then remove from heat.

5. Toss the sardine sauce with the cooked, drained pasta. Add the bread crumbs and toss again. Allow the pasta to settle several minutes before serving.