Chef John’s Pasta con le Sarde

  • Recipe By
  • Published Jun 8th
  • Ready In1h
  • Servings4
  • Calories709
I'm no survivalist, but like any responsible chef I like to have a few cans of sardines stocked away, just in case. If times ever get tough, I could survive for hours, maybe days on them; but since things are going pretty well, I decided to dust off a can, and show you my version of Sicily's famous pasta con le sarde. You can substitute thick spaghetti for the bucatini, if desired.

Chef John’s Pasta con le Sarde Ingredients

The following are the ingredients needed to make delicious Chef John’s Pasta con le Sarde for 4 servings:

  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 pound bucatini pasta
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced fennel bulb
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans sardines packed in oil, drained and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds, or more to taste

Chef John’s Pasta con le Sarde Cooking Instructions

  • Prep25m
  • Cook35m
  • Ready In1h

To cook Chef John’s Pasta con le Sarde, you need about 25 minutes of preparation time. The time needed to cook this Chef John’s Pasta con le Sarde is about 35 minutes , and you can serve your Chef John’s Pasta con le Sarde within 1 hour . The following are the steps to cook Chef John’s Pasta con le Sarde easily:

  1. 1 Cook and stir bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until bread crumbs are crispy and toasted, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer breadcrumbs to a bowl to cool.
  2. 2 Grind saffron threads with a mortar and pestle; pour white wine into mortar and stir to combine.
  3. 3 Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook bucatini in boiling water, stirring occasionally until almost cooked through but firm to the bite, 10 to 11 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  4. 4 Heat remaining olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and fennel with a pinch of salt in hot oil until onion is soft, about 10 minutes.
  5. 5 Stir raisins, garlic, and anchovy fillet into onion mixture; cook and stir until heated through, about 1 minute.
  6. 6 Pour saffron-wine into skillet; cook until wine is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Pour 1 ladleful reserved pasta water into skillet and bring to a simmer. Stir pine nuts and red pepper flakes into sauce; simmer until flavors combine and sauce is reduced, about 5 minutes.
  7. 7 Stir bucatini and sardines into wine mixture; increase heat to high, and cook, stirring frequently and adding more reserved pasta water as necessary, until sauce and pasta are heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Ladle into bowls and top with fennel fronds and toasted bread crumbs.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 709 calories; 33.3 grams of fat; 72.2 grams of carbohydrates; 27.5 grams of protein; 81 milligrams of cholesterol; 532 milligrams of sodium.

  1. Feb 11th 2019

    The chef John recipes just don’t cut it. Not sure how he has so many on here.

  2. Jan 9th 2019

    Let me start by saying, that I am a big fan of Chef John. Most of his original recipes are outstanding, and he puts unique twists on common recipes that make them typically even better. Bu ...

  3. Jan 4th 2019

    Made it exactly as written. Loved the pasta and seasonings. Especially that hint of anchovies. Love croutons especially home made. For this they were a total waste of time and really in ...

  4. Aug 23rd 2017

    This was quite good! Did not use the anchovy filet and put in a little extra salt instead. Surprisingly the raisins went really good with the other flavours.

  5. Feb 14th 2017

    The video was very helpful, but I think I need to practice. It was OK, but not great.

  6. Jul 21st 2016

    Really good comfort food! And surprisingly easy. I had never had sardines and was intimidated at first, but they are so good for you and the video made it look easy. Made only half the re ...

  7. Oct 23rd 2015

    I'm an big fan of sardines and not a fan of pasta at all so this was interesting for me. I really enjoyed the dish. I bought the slightly more expensive ($2.50, instead of 99c) sardines in o ...

  8. Jun 16th 2015

    This dish is delicious. This has become my go-to comfort food. I keep it stocked. The pine nuts, raisins, flavorful sardines and the fennel with a little bit of heat is so good. I really lov ...

  9. Mar 15th 2015

    Cooked the recipe as is with the exception of leaving out the pine nuts. I loved it. Everybody else wasn't a fan. They didn't care for the sardines. Great recipe.