Fettuccine allo “Scalo Trapanese”

Fettuccine allo “Scalo Trapanese”

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.

fettuccine allo scalo trapanese sardines

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.

fettuccine allo scalo trapanese

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.

fettuccine allo scalo trapanese

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!

fettuccine allo scalo trapanese

 

Print Recipe
Fettuccine allo "Scalo Trapanese"
Pasta, fresh sardines, fennel, dried figs ... what's not to love?
fettuccine allo scalo trapanese
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
serves
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings
serves
Ingredients
fettuccine allo scalo trapanese
Instructions
  1. Chop four of the six sardines, discarding the tails. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat and fry the 2 reserved sardines on both sides, until golden. Remove the sardines and set aside.
  3. Wipe out the same pan with kitchen paper, add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the chopped fennel until soft and golden. Remove the cooked fennel and set it aside in a bowl.
  4. Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the same pan and add the chopped anchovies, stirring and allowing them to dissolve. Toss in the chopped onion and sauté until translucent. Add the tomatoes and figs and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  5. Add in the cooked fennel and chopped sardines and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stir it through, allowing to simmer for 1 minute. Taste for seasoning and turn off the heat.
  6. Cook the pasta 1 or 2 minutes less than the time specified. Drain when cooked, reserving some of the pasta water.
  7. Get the sardine sauce back over a medium heat, toss in the cooked pasta and sliced almonds, stirring gently to mix. If it's dry, add in some pasta water.
  8. To serve, plate up the fettuccine and scatter with the toasted breadcrumbs and torn fennel fronds.
Recipe Notes

How to clean fresh sardines - Cut off the heads and fins, but leave the tails intact. Rub the scales off with your fingers under running water. Cut a slit down the belly and rinse out the guts. Gently open the sardine, locate the spine at the neck and carefully pry it from the body, working your way to the tail. Snap it off at the tail, then rinse the sardine again.

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