It’s customary to associate this with Sicily where it’s popped up spontaneously almost everywhere. In our guide for foraging fans (a very popular activity that involves collecting the wild products that abound in our Maremma) written by the expert Giovanna Nicaso, we read that wild fennel “grows uncultivated, close to ruins, and has a distinctive aroma due to its essential oils. A well-known and collected herb and all parts can be used. The leaves and stems are used for pasta with sardines.”
Assuming that oily fish is good for us and that you can never say no to a tasty pasta dish that’s 100% made in Italy, we present the first almost entirely Sicilian dish with two Tuscan contaminations – our own extra-virgin olive oil and fennel collected in the Maremma.
Spaghetti with sardines
Ingredients for 4 people
320g of spaghetti
200g of clean fresh sardines (not too big)
1 bunch of wild fennel
La Maliosa extra virgin olive oil
Soak the raisins in warm water. Coarsely chop the almonds with a knife.
Rinse the sardines and dry them with paper towels. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt and blanche the wild fennel for 2-3 minutes. Retrieve the fennel with a slotted spoon, retaining the water to cook the pasta in. Chop the onion and fry in oil. Add the drained raisins, sardines in small pieces and chopped fennel. Season with salt and pepper, add a few tablespoons of the fennel cooking water and cook for a few minutes on a low heat. In a non-stick pan, toast the almonds. Bring to boil the remaining fennel cooking water and cook the pasta al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce. Cook for a few minutes and serve with the toasted almonds.