Pasta

The Sicilian-Inspired Pantry Pasta We've Been Sleeping On

Pasta con le sarde is our old-new weeknight favorite.

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March 15, 2020
Photo by Ty Mecham. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Samantha Seneviratne.

We've partnered with DeLallo—family-owned makers of top-notch Italian ingredients, from semolina pastas to extra-virgin olive oil—to share the weeknight-ready pasta we've recently rediscovered: pasta con le sarde.


We've been doing recipe contests at Food52 since, well, the very beginning. (When we first got our start in 2009, there was a recipe contest every week of the year, hence the name Food52.) And with recipe contests, naturally, comes recipe contest winners—and lots of them, just waiting to be found again, made, and loved.

I recently rediscovered one of these hidden gems while searching for a pantry-friendly pasta one Wednesday night. I didn't have much in the fridge, but my cabinets were stocked with the essentials: dried pasta, olive oil, assorted nuts and dried fruits, some tinned fish, and plenty of spices.

So when I happened upon this pasta con le sarde, realized I had most of the ingredients on hand, and saw that it was a contest winner for "Your Best Canned Fish Recipe," I knew I was in business.

Inspired by the classic dish from Sicily (it is most commonly associated with the capital, Palermo, but variations can be found throughout the region), this pasta is a weeknight dream. It calls on many staples you might already have in your pantry (think: EVOO, anchovies, sardines, dried currants, pine nuts, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, white wine, and bucatini). The only fresh ingredients aren't too complicated, either (literally just onion, fennel, and garlic).

If you're not an anchovy or sardine fan, this one might not be for you. But if you are, consider this your new favorite way to use them. Their natural brininess is complemented by the sweetness of the dried currants and fennel, and the pine nuts bring a buttery crunch that keeps everything nice and balanced. The flavors and textures are so on-the-nose, you're pretty much guaranteed to go back for seconds.

Oh, and did I mention the whole thing is ready in under 30 minutes? Weeknights never looked better.

What's your go-to pantry pasta recipe? Tell us in the comments below!

In partnership with DeLallo, we're sharing the no-fail weeknight pasta we're adding to our rotation ASAP: pasta con le sarde. Want to try it at home? You'll need a few quality ingredients to get started, like DeLallo's Bucatini Pasta (made with durum wheat semolina), Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, crunchy Pine Nuts, and of course, Flat-Fillet Anchovies (you can't pull off this pasta without 'em!).

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Erin Alexander is the Associate Editor at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.

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