Chef John's Pasta con le Sarde

Chef John's Pasta con le Sarde

Chef John

"I'm no survivalist, but like any responsible chef I like to have a few cans of sardines stocked away, just in case. If times ever get tough, I could survive for hours, maybe days on them; but since things are going pretty well, I decided to dust off a can, and show you my version of Sicily's famous pasta con le sarde. You can substitute thick spaghetti for the bucatini, if desired."
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1 h servings 709 cals
Serving size has been adjusted!
Original recipe yields 4 servings


  • Calories:
  • 709 kcal
  • 35%
  • Fat:
  • 33.3 g
  • 51%
  • Carbs:
  • 72.2g
  • 23%
  • Protein:
  • 27.5 g
  • 55%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 81 mg
  • 27%
  • Sodium:
  • 532 mg
  • 21%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

See full nutrition

Nutritional Information

1 Serving
Servings Per Recipe:
Amount Per Serving
  • * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  • ** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
  • (-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  1. Cook and stir bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until bread crumbs are crispy and toasted, 2 to 5 minutes. Transfer breadcrumbs to a bowl to cool.
  2. Grind saffron threads with a mortar and pestle; pour white wine into mortar and stir to combine.
  3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook bucatini in boiling water, stirring occasionally until almost cooked through but firm to the bite, 10 to 11 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  4. Heat remaining olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and fennel with a pinch of salt in hot oil until onion is soft, about 10 minutes.
  5. Stir raisins, garlic, and anchovy fillet into onion mixture; cook and stir until heated through, about 1 minute.
  6. Pour saffron-wine into skillet; cook until wine is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Pour 1 ladleful reserved pasta water into skillet and bring to a simmer. Stir pine nuts and red pepper flakes into sauce; simmer until flavors combine and sauce is reduced, about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir bucatini and sardines into wine mixture; increase heat to high, and cook, stirring frequently and adding more reserved pasta water as necessary, until sauce and pasta are heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Ladle into bowls and top with fennel fronds and toasted bread crumbs.


Read all reviews 4
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Cooked the recipe as is with the exception of leaving out the pine nuts. I loved it. Everybody else wasn't a fan. They didn't care for the sardines. Great recipe.

Really good comfort food! And surprisingly easy. I had never had sardines and was intimidated at first, but they are so good for you and the video made it look easy. Made only half the recipe...

I'm an big fan of sardines and not a fan of pasta at all so this was interesting for me. I really enjoyed the dish. I bought the slightly more expensive ($2.50, instead of 99c) sardines in olive...

This dish is delicious. This has become my go-to comfort food. I keep it stocked. The pine nuts, raisins, flavorful sardines and the fennel with a little bit of heat is so good. I really love it...

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