Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Baked Pasta with Sardines and Wild Fennel

This recipe is from Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook. We tried it when the Market had sardines for $1.50/lb — as the fishmonger said, the fish is cheaper than the ice it's sent home with. I had never cleaned a fish before, but Joy of Cooking explains the basics, although in fact sardines are much easier to clean than are big fish.

Other than the penne and the whole sardine fillets (skin on, use six fish for one pound of pasta), the casserole has golden raisins (blumped in boiling water), pine nuts (toasted), a puree of blanched fennel tops and some blanching liquid, and a sautee of finely diced fennel bulb, garlic, and onion (we dropped the rinsed anchovy fillets, red pepper flakes, and saffron from the recipe). Serve with wedges of lemon and fresh chopped parsley.

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