Pasta with Red Sardines

Pasta with Red Sardines or Pasta con le Sarde Rosse, is a Sicilian dish that pays homage to the island’s rich culinary tapestry. Sicilian cuisine is a vibrant fusion of flavors influenced by various cultures, and this dish showcases the bold and aromatic character of the Mediterranean. Red sardines, infused with the warmth of tomato sauce and seasoned with a medley of Sicilian spices, create a tantalizing experience for the palate. Complemented by the addition of pine nuts, raisins, and saffron, Pasta con le Sarde Rosse stands as a testament to Sicily’s ability to transform humble ingredients into a symphony of flavors.


  • Moderate

Wine Pairings

  • Not Available

Servings For :

  • 4 People


  • Approximately 1 hour of preparation and cooking


  • Moderate

Italy Region

  • Sicilia


  • Not Available


  • 400g (about 14 oz) of bucatini or spaghetti pasta
  • 500g (about 1.1 pounds) of fresh red sardines, cleaned and filleted
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce (passata)
  • 1/4 cup of golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • A pinch of saffron threads, soaked in warm water
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish


  1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta (bucatini or spaghetti) according to the package instructions until al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until it becomes translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for an additional minute until it becomes fragrant.
  4. Place the sliced fennel in the skillet and cook until it starts to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the cleaned and filleted red sardines to the skillet, breaking them apart with a spoon as they cook.
  6. Pour in the white wine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes to cook off the alcohol.
  7. Stir in the tomato sauce (passata), golden raisins, and pine nuts. Allow the sauce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  8. Add a ladle of the reserved pasta cooking water to the sauce to achieve a silky texture.
  9. Season the sauce with saffron-infused water, salt, and black pepper to taste.
  10. Once the pasta is cooked, transfer it directly to the skillet with the red sardine sauce. Toss gently to coat the pasta evenly.
  11. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
  12. Serve the Pasta con le Sarde Rosse hot, allowing everyone to savor the vibrant and aromatic flavors of Sicily.
  13. Enjoy this enticing and flavorful dish that captures the essence of Sicilian culinary artistry.

Pasta con le Sarde Rosse is a celebration of Sicily’s culinary diversity, offering a delightful combination of red sardines, aromatic spices, and the sweetness of raisins. Its bold and nuanced flavors showcase the island’s ability to create dishes that reflect its rich cultural heritage.

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