Fettuccine allo “Scalo Trapanese”
Pasta, fresh sardines, fennel, dried figs … what’s not to love?
  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.