80ml extra-virgin olive oil
50g brunoise of celery, onion, carrot
1 garlic clove
3 salted anchovy fillets in oil
100g wild fennel fronds
a good pinch of saffron
50ml white wine
50ml fish stock
8 fresh sardine fillets
30g pine nuts
20g tomato paste
200g bucatini pasta
100g toasted and salted breadcrumbs
1 In a non-stick pan, warm the oil, and add the brunoise and the garlic. Let it sweat for a few minutes, and add the salted anchovies, raisins, wild fennel fronds and the saffron.
2Flambé with the white wine, and once the wine has evaporated, add the stock, four of the sardine fillets and the pine nuts.
3Cook until the sardines are dissolved and the sauce looks quite yellowish. Add the tomato paste.
4Cook the bucatini in boiling salted water until al dente.
5Sauté the pasta in the sauce adding a handful of breadcrumbs.
6Serve on four plates, season with more of the breadcrumbs, and top with a fillet of sardine.
The gutsy flavours of sardines set the tone of this Sicilian dish with the aniseed spike of fennel adding extra potency. A savoury white would work but I take any chance to serve a rosé. I’ve selected wines from the Olio wine list for these notes with Julian Castanga’s full-flavoured, deep pink drop an easy choice. It’s made from shiraz and viognier with the power and depth to match the sardines and fennel. The raisins and pine nuts add complexity in harmony with the equally complex Allegro.