I tried a recipe in one of my old cookbooks (which I'm working on culling) and it turned out way better than I was expecting, so I'll post the recipe. I looked harder at the book, which I had not cooked from before - one of those I've picked up about sicilian cooking. I found out it's the first devoted to only sicilian cooking. I looked it up on amazon, and the reviews are all raves, plus it has wonderful drawings. Mine is not a first edition, which would have been 1971, but no matter, it's a newly realized treasure to me.
by Anna Muffoletto -
The recipe is for Pasta con le Sarde, Green and Silver Spaghetti.
I'll copy/type the whole thing, it's not too long, my substitutions in parenthesis.
Pasta con le Sarde is the most distinguished of Sicilian specialties, and a dish of the people. Its hearty combination of fresh and salted sardines, fennel leaves, currants, and pine nuts is intermixed with thick strings of chewy spaghetti. Toasted bread crumbs were originally sprinkled over the top instead of cheese for economy's sake, and today the practice continues since they add a rather crispy texture and nutty flavor to the dish.
1 medium onion, minced
(I already had caramelized onions)
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil
(I used sunflower oil)
1 pound fennel leaves chopped - 2 cups
(I used a couple of tablespoons of fennel seeds)
1 8 ounce can of tomato puree
(I used a little more, and added some roasted tomatoes)
2 tablespoons currants
(I used golden raisins, which I soaked a little first)
salt and black pepper
1/2 pound of fresh sardine or smelt filets, cut in 1-inch pieces
4-6 salted sardines, rinsed and cut in 1-inch pieces
- nope (I used half a tin of Wild Planet Sardines, to try it out. Next time I'd add the whole thing. I drained those)
1 pound perciatelli
(I used 1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti)
1 cup toasted bread crumbs
(I skipped those)
In a large saucepan, brown onion and pine nuts in hot oil for 3 minutes.
(I added the fennel seeds for a few minutes before the pine nuts and onions.)
Stir in fennel, tomato puree, currants, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Add pieces of fish and continue simmering for 10 minutes
(I didn't continue simmering since it wasn't fresh fish, although I did add a little water and reheat a bit when it was time to add the cooked pasta).
Cook perciatelli according to directions on package. Drain; return to kettle and pour half the sauce over it. Mix and heat together for 3 minutes. Pour into deep bowls; cover with more sauce and top with salted sardine pieces. Serve with toasted bread crumbs. Toast crumbs in a moderate oven or brown carefully in heavy skillet.
(Mine was less work, I just put the drained cooked pasta in the pan with the sauce and tossed it.)
Geez, that was good.
Please add your own favorites.