I have been researching Anti Inflammatory food recently and found that fennel is not only a powerl anti inflammatory properties, it also has high anti oxidant properties too. Fennel is not something that I would normally throw in my shopping basket as I really only know 1 recipe for it. ( A fennel and orange salad).
I did a quick search online and found many recipes using fennel in pasta which is supposed to be a Sicilian recipe. I bought a couple of bulbs from the supermarket to test these recipes out. As I had also can of sardines and some spaghetti in the larder, I made this simple dish.
Sicilian Fennel and Sardine Pasta
- 1 bulb fennel preferably with the green fronds intact
- 1 can sardines in olive oil or a handful of fresh sardines
- 1 onion optional
- 2 bulbs of garlic
- 1 tbsp of pine nuts
- 1 tbsp sultanas
- a pinch of chilli flakes
- a packet of spaghetti or your choice of pasta
- salt and pepper to season
- fried breadcrumbs to use as a sprinkle optional
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta
- Meanwhile, slice up the fennel thinly, chop the garlic, slice onion if you are using that.
- Put pasta on to bowl (usually about 10 minutes for dry pasta)
- Heat a large pan and add some oil (not extra virgin olive oil) and throw in the onions, soften for about 2 minutes.
- If you are using fresh sardines, then lightly flour them and pan fry them in another pan for a couple of minutes each side.
- Add in the garlic and chilli flakes to cook but not brown.
- After a minute, add in the fennel and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Flake in the sardines from the can and stir to warm up. Add hald of the fresh sardines to the sauce and save a couple to decorate the pasta when you serve it.
- Add in the pine nuts and sultanas, stir.
- At about ths time, the pasta should be ready, so turn off the heat and using a spaghetti scoop, move the pasta from the pot to the pan with the sauce. (I don't drain my pasta as I want to be able to use the pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed.)
- Toss to coat pasta and serve immediately with some fried breadcrumbs for texture. (Often used in the south as a poor man's alternative to parmesan)
- You might like to drizzle a bit more extra virigin olive oil on the pasta as you serve it.