Pasta con Sarde

February 29, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: I fell is love with this dish some 25 years ago when a restaurant in Manhattan named Siracusa (long gone) had it on their menu. Today, no Italian restaurant I frequent makes this wonderful pasta.
Since I really love it and there are no complicated or hidden ingredients, I've been making it at home and even served it one year for our fish-only xmas even dinner.
It's simple and forgiving and the amounts can be adjusted to suit individual tastes.
Bucatini is the traditional pasta used but it's often hard to find so spaghetti will work fine.

Food52 Review: WHO: FOOD52er blanka.n is a food writer living in New York.
WHAT: A classic Italian seafood pasta with both anchoves and sardines, round out with fennel and a healthy hit of olive oil.
HOW: Not counting the pot you use to boil the pasta, this is a one-dish meal -- weeknight dinner, anyone?
WHY WE LOVE IT: The flavors and textures of this pasta are perfectly balanced, from the bite of the currants to the crunch of the pine nuts.
The Editors

Serves: 4 - 6


  • 1 Small onion
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil
  • 1 Fennel bulb, thinly sliced, reserve fronds
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup White wine
  • 6 Flat anchovies
  • 2 Cans of sardines
  • 4 tablespoons Dried currants or raisins
  • 4 tablespoons Pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel seeds, crushed
  • dashes Red Pepper flakes
  • 1 pound Bucatini pasta
In This Recipe


  1. Saute onion and fennel in a pan large enough to hold pasta. Cook for about 5 minutes, add garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until soft. Add wine and continue cooking. Add anchovies and sardines, breaking them up with wooden spoon. Add currants, pine nuts, fennel seeds and pepper flakes. Continue on very low flame.
  2. Boil pasta til al dente and add to sardine mixture. Add some of the pasta cooking water to create sauce if too dry. You can also add more olive oil and serve with reserved chopped fronds.

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Italian|Currant|Fennel|Sardine|Pine Nut|Anchovy|Christmas|Spring|Summer|Entree

Reviews (23) Questions (2)

23 Reviews

Gria A. August 6, 2015
I think Siracusa may have been the very best restaurant in NY. I lived in SF and every time i got to NY it was my first stop. their gelato was to die for. It was the only time Italian food in the states tasted the way it did in Italy. I heard that they may have opened a separate gelato place . does anyone know about this?
Stubor April 21, 2015
If I use chopped pecans and/or roasted pumpkin seeds, will I go to Hell?
ike August 26, 2014
DELICIOUS. just made it, keeping the recipe!
walkie74 December 16, 2013
I ended up making tomorrow's lunch tonight (it's a little past midnight as I type this). Good thing this dish is fast, or I'd be in a heap of trouble. Since my husband isn't overly fond of sardines, I only added one can and doubled the amount of anchovies (his favorite). Thanks for sharing!
betta.c July 17, 2013
this is really similar to a venetian dish called 'bigoli in salsa' soooooo good
Food212 March 2, 2013
Aaah blanka.n therenis still one place left!!! Del' Arte in Orangeburg, NY Near Nyack in Rockland County. A great family run place, it was a special, but I think they moved it to the regular menu. The chef amd owner told me it was how his grandmother coocked when he grew up. Worth the drive. Ask if on the menu, if mot ask if he will cook it for you!!<br />Bill
MQAvatar March 1, 2013
If you need even more richness, add a dollop of creme fraiche to your leftovers. Yum.
MQAvatar March 1, 2013
My wife and I made this last night and we loved it. What a great pantry dinner!
ela_tarantella February 7, 2013
Buono! But not just Italian, it's Sicilian! And a very well-like dish in Sicily... most people I ask in Sicily tell me that pasta con le sarde is their favorite Sicilian pasta dish.
ela_tarantella February 7, 2013
monstermeggers December 30, 2012
Just made this tonight, and this is a new pasta favourite! Really easy and super quick. Fantastic recipe!
meeshybells December 22, 2012
This is such a traditional Sicilian specialty usually included in the Christmas Eve dinner. There is a great canned version (Pastene brand) of this sauce made with wild Italian fennel and currants, which is the Italian cook's choice for this recipe. Usually we tweak the canned contents with sauteed onion and tomato paste and you then have the traditional recipe.
Author Comment
blanka.n November 19, 2012
Thanks for all the praise! What I really love is that this is a year-round pasta dish that can be served for 2 or a dinner party.
kstallbe August 21, 2012
Blanka, thanks so much for sharing this. I have added this dish to the rotation of my weeknight meals and I love it. I have to admit that my wife only tolerates it, but who cares, I do the cooking! HAHA!
student E. August 5, 2012
this is one of my favorite food52 recipes! i like to add an extra fennel bulb to increase the veg content. really, spectacular.
Sarag July 18, 2012
Just from reading through the recope I can tell this will be wonderful. I hope it will be wonderful enough to redeem my not so great gluten free pasta.
AnnieHynes March 24, 2012
I made this for the family, didn't tell my teenagers that it contained sardines and anchovies...needless to say they loved it! your use of fennel was inspired! Thanks for sharing!!
kstallbe March 20, 2012
This was amazing. Ive made several fish and pasta dishes, and this, by far, was the best I have ever had. My wife, who usually grimaces at my fish and pasta dishes, loved this one. <br /> <br />I nominate this for a genius recipe! Thanks for sharing!
kstallbe March 20, 2012
Oh, and I cheated by using anchovy paste and it came out great,
Kitchen B. March 12, 2012
Congratulations - it sounds lovely with the sweet currants and the pine nuts too. Well done
vrunka March 11, 2012
Wow, this sounds fabulous -- just the kind of dish I love! Congrats!
soupandsong March 9, 2012
Can't wait to try this!