Caramelized Fennel, Celery, and Sardine Pasta
This version of pasta con le sarde, a heart-healthy Sicilian classic, uses tinned sardines rather than fresh, cutting down on prep time. Sardine bones, softened during canning, are barely noticeable -- and full of calcium.
- Total Time:
- Servings: 4
Photography: John Kernick
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 large bulb fennel, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced, plus 1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the bias, plus 1/4 cup celery leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 10 ounces short tubular whole-wheat pasta, such as penne rigate or elicoidali
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 can (4.2 ounces) sardines packed in olive oil, drained
Heat oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and deep golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain.
Add pasta and pasta water to skillet with vegetables. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring to coat pasta, until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in fennel fronds, celery leaves, and lemon zest. Break up sardines into large pieces and gently fold into pasta. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.