Dinner Tonight: 30-minute Entrees
Sardines step out of can, into the pasta
Classic Sicilian dish calls for fresh fish. But canned sardines work beautifully
Pasta with sardines: This classic Sicilian dish of pasta with sardines calls for fresh fish. In our version, canned sardines work beautifully. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
The Sicilians have a classic dish pairing sardines with golden raisins and wild fennel, for a sweet and sour combination that plays beautifully against the rich fish. But the traditional dish calls for fresh sardines. And wild fennel, while apparently abundant on the Italian island, is nearly impossible to find here.
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
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Note: Adapted from Giorgio Locatelli's "Made in Sicily" and Epicurious.com.
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