Bucatini with sardines and fennel

Bucatini with sardines and fennel
Bucatini with sardines and fennel Photo: Marina Oliphant

In the style of Sicilian cooking - where the colourful Arabic influence shows - wild fennel would be used along with saffron, pine nuts and raisins.


6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, sliced

1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs and fronds, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

a pinch of dried chilli (optional)

2 pinches dried oregano

salt and pepper

8 sardine fillets, cut into small pieces

320g bucatini pasta

4 tbsp breadcrumbs, lightly toasted with a tablespoon of olive oil in a hot pan

3-4 tbsp grated parmesan


Bring a large pot of generously salted water to the boil.

In a large heavy-based pan, heat the oil and add the garlic, fennel and onion. Cook gently until completely soft and lightly golden.Add the chilli and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Push the contents to the side of the pan, raise the heat a little and add two extra tablespoons of olive oil and the sardines. Season with salt and cook for a few minutes until cooked through. Stir to combine, and set aside while you cook the pasta.

Drain the pasta once cooked, gently reheat the sardines and add the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Toss everything well and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve.