Pasta con le sarde (Sicilian pasta dish)

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This is a simple Sicilian pasta dish that is usually made with sardines, fennel, anchovies and sometimes capers too. My version doesn’t include fennel or capers. You can add them if you want to but I find this simplified version as tasty without them. For me, it is the saltiness of the sardines and anchovies and the sweetness of the golden currants that really makes this dish.

KITCHEN KIT:
A large pasta pan, a deep large frying pan, a small sauce pan.

Ingredients Serves 2:
150g bucatini pasta
6 tbsp. Olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 anchovy fillets, in oil
120g.can boneless sardines in water or oil, drained
1 tbsp strattu or 1 1/2 tbsp tomato purée
30g sultanas, or golden currants
A few strands of saffron
3 pinches of salt
2 pinches of black pepper
1/4 of the starchy water from the boiling pasta water
10cherry tomatoes, halves
10g pine nuts
10g breadcrumbs

Pasta con le sarde:
In a large pan season your water with 1 tbsp. of oil and 2 pinches of salt.Bring the water to a boil, add your pasta and cooked until al dente. (cook according to packet instructions as the pasta’s cooking time varies.)

While your pasta cooks, heat 4 tbsp. of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 1 minute until softened. Add sardine flakes and the strattu or tomato paste. Stir for a few minutes then add the currants and saffron. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.Cook gently for 1 minute. Add 1/4 of the starchy water from the boiling pasta water.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook for less than a minute.

Finally, on a separate pan, fry the breadcrumbs and pine nuts with 1 tbsp. of oil over a medium-high heat until they turn golden-brown and crunchy.

Drain the bucatini and mix with the sardine sauce, sprinkle over the pine nuts and breadcrumbs.

Serve immediately.

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