Pasta con le Sarde (Pasta w/ Sardines)

Serves 4


  • ½ tsp saffron threads in 3 tbsp hot water
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup toasted panko bread crumbs
  • ¾ lb long pasta (spaghetti, fettucini, etc.)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 dried chiles, crumbled
  • 1 small bulb fennel, sliced
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 12 whole sardines, filleted
  • 3 tbsp pasta cooking water
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • juice of ¼ lemon


Prepare Saffron, Raisins, Panko & Pasta

  1. Sprinkle the saffron threads over 3 tbsp of hot water and let it stand for 20 minutes
  2. Soak the raisins in warm water for 20 minutes, drain and set aside
  3. In a dry pan, toast panko until golden brown over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside
  4. Boil the pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and reserve 3 tbsp of the cooking liquid. Set aside

Make Sauce

  1. Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Set aside
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sauté the garlic, crumbled chilies, and fennel for 2-3 minutes until fennel begins to soften
  3. Add anchovy and crush with the back of a fork or spoon into the pan
  4. Add raisins, pine nuts, and sardines to the pan. Stir well
  5. Add cooked pasta and reserved cooking liquid to pan and toss until combined
  6. Squeeze some lemon juice over the top, add saffron broth, and garnish with parsley 
  7. Sprinkle toasted panko over each serving. Serve immediately