This fettuccine allo “Scalo Trapanese” comes from a fab little trattoria called Tinchitè, in the gorgeous baroque town of Ragusa, Sicily. We spent a couple of nights in town and had both dinner and lunch at Tinchitè.
There was so much on the menu I wanted to sample, but couldn’t for lack of time. The polpette al sugo (meatballs in tomato sauce) was spectacular, as were the couple of pasta dishes we tried.
Probably a good thing I photographed the menu as there was a pasta dish that stood out for me.
Spaghetti allo “Scalo Trapanese” – sarda fresca, acciughe, cipolla, fichi secchi, mandorle, ciliegino, finocchietto selvatico, pane tostado.
A menu description and list of ingredients in one. That’s all I needed to one day make it myself.
It seems this is a bit of riff on the classic pasta con le sarde, or pasta chî sardi – a dish you see a lot of around Sicily, especially in Palermo. It’s divine, though there are variations wherever you go.
At Tinchitè they’ve replaced the raisins with dried figs, and pine nuts with almonds, and have also omitted the saffron. The result – a delicious primi dish for all of us sardine lovers.
This is not a saucy pasta, which is kind of the norm in this part of the world, with tender chunks of caramelised fennel, a slight sweetness and popping seeds from dried figs, and that beautiful richness from fresh sardines.
Don’t want to deal with cleaning fresh sardines? Then good quality tinned ones would do the trick.
The ultimate question I have is about the name of this pasta. It basically translates to “at the Trapani Airport”. We didn’t make it to the gorgeous seaside town of Trapani, but if we return to Sicily, I’ll be sniffing about any trattorias at the airport!