Bigoli con le sarde is the typical Italian pasta with sardines, original recipe from Venezia, where fresh fish is in the city’s DNA.
When you see the low skyline of Venezia coming from the Veneto terraferma, on your way to the laguna, you will feel a strong emotion, because the Serenissima, former capital of the eastern Mediterranean sea and melting pot of Asian and European culture, is physically suspended between the open sea and its rich countryside, and you can smell the mix of flavours of the Adriatic sea and the land of Veneto.
This dish represents the wonderful ambiguity of Venezia, Italian city like Roma Milano or Firenze but strongly linked to the open sea, more like Napoli, Genova or Palermo. Unique in the world, Venezia is not on the sea, but inside it. Bigoli con le sarde are a delicious, tasty synthesis of land and sea.
When the world didn’t have the privilege of freezing food (can you imagine it?!), salt was the main ingredient for preserving food from decay. In Venezia, sardines were stored in salt and then washed carefully and eaten when needed. The original recipe of bigoli con le sarde would be perfect with salted sardines, but we found fresh ones and could not resist.
Bigoli con le sarde – pasta with sardines
Ingredients for 2 people:
- 250g of fresh sardines (6 big or 10 small)
- 3 or 4 anchovies in pickled oil (acciughe sott’olio)
- half onion (mezza cipolla)
- two cloves of garlic (due spicchi d’aglio)
- 2 small chili peppers (2 piccoli peperoncini)
- one fresh tomato – optional (un pomodoro fresco)
- parsley (prezzemolo)
- olive oil (olio extra vergine di oliva)
- 250 g of fresh bigoli (or 180 g of spaghetti or bucatini if you unfortunately can’t find bigoli)
Preparation: 30 minutes
Mince the onion and the garlic very thin and stir fry with 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. Add the pickled anchovies and the chili peppers, low flame. Let everything melt together. Clean the sardines (interiors, head and bone) chop them according to your taste. You can melt them completely or dice if you like it. Add the sardines to the ingredients in the pan, put a lid and let cook for 15 minutes, low flame. Meanwhile, boil salted water, take the tomato, cut an X on the peel with a knife, boil the tomato for one minute. You can remove the peel very easily. Eliminate the seeds and chop the tomatoes in small cubes. The tomato is optional but it’s good… Boil the bigoli al dente for 8-10 minutes and put them in the pan with the sliced tomato. Add some salt, let the sauce become creamy and add parsley. Bigoli con le sarde is ready. Instead of parmigiano cheese, you can use thin breadcrumbs.
We hope you will manage to find bigoli, but outside Italy they are hard to find. Alternatively, we recommend bucatini or if you have time, try to make your own egg pasta. It’s easy and fun. Enjoy your Bigoli con le sarde!
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