Sicilian Fennel and Sardine Pasta

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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

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Servings: 2 large portions


  • 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.


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  1. I’ve heard alot about fennel but haven’t had the courage to try it out – this recipe looks great!

    1. London Food Blogger says:

      Try it out. It’s great for salad.