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|Pasta con Sarde
|Recipe contributed by Joe Barracato
- 1 pound fresh fennel bulb
- 4 anchovies fillets rinsed
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cans of sardines in olive oil
- 2 large onions, diced fine
- 1/3 cup of pine nuts
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup currants or raisins
- 1 pound perciatelli or bucatini pasta
Begin by cleaning the fennel of any brown fronds & trimming out the root. Fill the pot that you will cook the pasta with 5 quarts of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat & cook until the fennel is tender. Remove from pot, set aside to cool. Save the water to cook the pasta in. Once cool chop finely. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil at medium heat. Add onions & sauté until golden brown. Remove from pan, set aside. In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over a medium flame. Add 2 tablespoons of the sautéed onions & the breadcrumbs. Stirring until breadcrumbs are light brown. Place in a bowl & set aside. Heat the skillet again over a medium flame, add 2 tablespoons of the sautéed onions and the sardines & the oil they were packed in. Sauté the anchovies briefly, add 1/2 cup of the reserved fennel water, cook for an additional 3 minutes, and then set aside. Place the saffron in a bowl with 3 tablespoons hot water, let steep for 3 minutes. In the skillet, heat 3 more tablespoons of olive oil, add the remaining onions, the anchovies & stir with a wooden spoon. Cook until anchovies are almost melted, add chopped fennel, increase heat to high and cook for about 3 minutes. Now add 1/2 of the saffron, the currants, the pine nuts & 1/2 of the sautéed sardines. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower the flame & simmer for 25 minutes. Bring fennel water to a boil and cook pasta, remove pasta 2 minutes before done. Drain pasta well & return to the pot. Mix in remaining saffron. Toss in 1/2 of the sauce and 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs. Mix for 2 minutes on low heat or until pasta and sauce are well combined. To serve, add a spoonful of sauce, some of the sardines & onions. Sprinkle over more breadcrumbs. Makes 4 servings.
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