Pasta con le Sarde

Pasta con le sarde – The national dish of Sicily. It is most associated with Sicily’s capital Palermo, but it can be found all over the island.
The flavors are a mix of sweet and sour with several key ingredients brought by the arabs around 900 AD. Notably raisins, saffron, and pine nuts.
Although the Sicilian cuisine has a lot in common with Italian cuisine, Sicilian food also has Greek, Spanish, French and Arab influences.
The Sicilian cook Mithaecus, born during 5th century BC, is credited with having brought knowledge of Sicilian gastronomy to Greece: his cookbook was the first in Greek, therefore he was the earliest cookbook author in any language whose name is known.

Pasta con Le Sarde

The principal ingredients are olive oil, onions, pasta and a finely chopped mixture of sardines and anchovy. Various types of pasta are used for the dish, but bucatini is traditional. Wild fennel, saffron, pine nuts, raisins and salt are added to flavor the dish. To finish the dish it is topped with toasted breadcrumbs.
I thought I would take some photos of the individual ingredients as well.

Fettuccine con Sarde

“Fettuccine con sarde” served up in about 15 minutes.
I have been reading and thinking about sardines…alot… How was I going to cook them in a dish? Especially with “stinky” fish haters so intertwined in my life. Surely I would have to wait until Meek Micaela was not here. My already wild beard, while impressive, will not be very tidy after consuming them…
Don’t think about it too much. It only becomes more reprehensible…

Especially since the mere mention of our sea dwelling friends cause Isaiah and Christian to go into near panic. It’s one thing to prepare fish that is somewhat neutral in regards to it’s bouquet, but we are talking about sardines here.

I made my way home tonight after Christian’s birthday party and it was the perfect opportunity to cook those sardines. I walked into the front door rubbing my hands together and laughed maniacally. Honest! The only other living creature here at the moment is Augustus and he doesn’t talk or protest.

Fettuccine con sarde

I heated a pan to medium high heat with extra virgin olive oil; Antico Frantoio Trampolini to be exact – since 1785! I placed a cup of cherry tomatoes in the pan for several minutes until they started to blister, pop, and release their liquid. At this point I added an entire sliced sweet onion and let it cook along with the tomatoes. I then added a generous amount of salt and some black pepper. Not wanting too much liquid I allowed a few minutes for some of the liquid to evaporate. Next I added 4 sliced gloves of garlic and sauteed them until fragrant. With the heat turned to low I added some sardines that were packed in EVOO. I reserved half of them so I could finish the dish with some whole sardines since they break apart easily when incorporating into the pan. My fettuccine had just finished cooking so I drained them and added them into the sauce pan. I finished the dish with some fresh lemon juice, capers, and in the very middle a dollop of calabrian chilies that were packed in oil. This added a nice spicy kick.

Next time I want to try a recipe from Sardinia that uses fennel, saffron, pine nuts, and raisins! Sounds amazing.