Spaghetti with Sardines and Fennel

Many moons ago, I was lucky enough to spend 3 months studying in Sardinia. What a great place for amazing local food! The Sardinians may be horrified at this cheat’s tinned version of their local classic but it is a super easy, healthy mid-week treat. This recipe has been modified from a version by Nigel Slater.

For 2 adults and a little one you will need:

  • 100 g fennel sliced thinly
  • 200 g spaghetti
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 tbsp pine nuts (optional for adults only)
  • 3 tbsp sultanas (pre-soaked in water for 10 minutes)
  • Pinch saffron (optional)
  • 2 tins sardines (drained of their juice)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Blanch the fennel for 4 mins in a large pan of boiling water. Remove it from the water using a slotted spoon and put it to one side. Use the same water to cook the spaghetti.

In parallel, gently fry the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes. When the onion has softened, add back in the blanched fennel and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the pine nuts, saffron and sultanas and cook for one minute.

Finally, add the spaghetti and sardines to the onion mixture and heat through. Stir gently to avoid breaking up the sardines, season and serve with a green salad.

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