Pasta with Sardines

Pasta with Sardines

This Pasta with Sardines, fennel, raisins, and pine nuts and sprinkled with golden breadcrumbs is a tasty and hearty recipe from Sicily, Italy. It is satisfying and comforting but not overly heavy.

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Pasta with Sardines

Hey folks! How are you doing? I hope this week has been treating you well so far.

Another week – another winter storm for us. After we received over 60 cm of snow just a week ago (and I bet our driveway and porch got a meter – as our house is located on a hill, and the storm also brought strong winds!), we are preparing for another one, this Tuesday and into Wednesday. They cannot tell exact amounts of expected precipitation as of now. But we could see up to 30 cm by Wednesday morning. (Or more!)

Daisy will be so angry and annoyed! The pure cat just started walking a bit during this weekend (as she hates when the roads are wet or covered in snow patches.) And here we go again! And speaking of Daisy, here she is :)

Pasta with Sardines

This Pasta with Sardines is another recipe I made last winter (obviously, Daisy spent many days at home due to weather!) Also, it is another recipe inspired by Frank’s blog. I also tried and shared some other recipes, such as Ragù alla Bolognese, Pasta alla Genovese, and Sicilian Style Pasta with Cauliflower.

This is another Sicilian dish with its typical flavorings including raisins, pine nuts, and saffron. The authentic recipe calls for fresh sardines and wild fennel – the things that nearly impossible to find in North America. But luckily for us Frank has adapted it, so we can enjoy it!

And those bread crumbs? Such a winner! I have always been a bit skeptical about bread crumbs in my pasta, but they are actually so good. Now I always make a bigger batch to sprinkle them on other dishes!

The best choice for this sauce would be bucatini, but spaghetti will work nicely, too.

I hope you like this Pasta with Sardines, and you will make it a try.  If you make it, let me know in this post or send me an Instagram message or share your photos adding the hashtag #havocinthekitchen.


Pasta with Sardines
Pasta with Sardines

Pasta with Sardines

Recipe by Ben | HavocinthekitchenCourse: Main, PastaCuisine: Italian, Sicilian


Prep time


Cooking time



This Pasta with Sardines, fennel, raisins, and pine nuts and sprinkled with golden breadcrumbs is a tasty and rather unusual recipe from Sicily, Italy. It is satisfying and comforting but not overly heavy.
The recipe adapted from Memorie di Angelina – Easy authentic Italian recipes


  • Pasta with Sardines:
  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 fennel bulbs – only the stems and fronds; reserve the bulbs for other recipe

  • 4-6 anchovy fillets

  • 3 small cans (120-130 gr. each) of sardines in olive oil – about 360-400 gr. total

  • ~1/4 cup (40-45 gr.) raisins

  • ~1/4 cup (35-40) pine nuts

  • 1/2 tsp. saffron strands, dissolved in 2 tbsp. warm water

  • 1 lb. (450 gr.) pasta such as bucatini or spaghetti

  • salt

  • Breadcrumbs:
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – I simply grated the stale baguette into course crumbs

  • 3-4 tbsp. olive oil

  • a good pinch of salt, optional


  • In a medium pan sauté the breadcrumbs in olive oil and seasoned with salt, over low-medium heat, until golden brown. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • Boil the fennel stems and fronds in a large pot of well salted water until tender, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the fennel from of the pot (do not discard the water, you will need it for step 3) and cool completely in cold water. Then chop the fennel and set aside for later use. You do not need the bulbs, reserve them for another recipes like Potato Fennel Bacon Soup or Orange Fennel Pecan Salad.
  • In the same pot cook the pasta according to the package instructions, until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water and drain.
  • While you are cooking the pasta, in a large pan sauté the onions in olive oil from the sardines (see notes) until they are translucent.
  • Add the anchovies and let them melt into the onions.
  • Stir in the chopped fennel and sauté for a minute or two.
  • Add the saffron with its liquid, along with the raisins and pine nuts. Simmer everything for a minute or two longer to let the flavors mingle. Taste and season with salt if it needs it.
  • Finally, add the sardines and give everything a gentle stir, letting the sardine fillets break up but not disintegrate.
  • Transfer the cooked pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss everything together gently. Let it cook together for an additional minute or so.
  • Serve, topped with a the breadcrumbs, if desired. Enjoy!


  • use the oil from cans with sardines only if it is good quality; if it does not smell pleasant or if other oil has been used, I would recommend draining the fish and use some bottled oil instead.

25 thoughts on “Pasta with Sardines

  1. Raymund says:

    Hey there! Your Pasta with Sardines looks absolutely delicious and perfect for cozying up during a winter storm. The combination of raisins, pine nuts, and saffron must add such a wonderful depth of flavor to the dish. And those golden breadcrumbs sound like the ultimate finishing touch!

    Stay warm and safe during the storm, and give Daisy some extra cuddles from me!

  2. Shashi says:

    Oh goodness, Ben! That’s a crazy amount of snow! Hope y’all stay safe and as warm as possible. Hoping things thaw out soon and Daisy can go for her walks again. By the way, Daisy is absolutely beautiful, but you already know that. Love her in these pictures and this is a fantastic recipe. I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of adding breadcrumbs to a pasta dish and now can’t wait to try!
    Shashi recently posted…Easy Pink MochaMy Profile

  3. Judee says:

    Sardines in pasta? Interesting. I bet my sardine loving husband would enjoy this dish. Daisy is adorable and cute to see in your photos! I’m in Florida for the winters and don’t miss being in the snow.

  4. Michelle says:

    Wow, stay warm and safe with the storm! This pasta with sardines would be a great dish to stay at home with though! Love the texture from the toasted breadcrumbs too on top!

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