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Fabio Trabocchi’s Le Paste con le Sarde

Le paste con le sarde
(Serves 4 as an appetizer)

8 fresh sardines, filleted and pin bones (ask your fish monger to butcher to your specifications)salt and pepper
4 ounces extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 pinch of saffron
1/8 cup dill, chopped coarsely
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
½ pound bucatini, cooked al dente with ½ cup pasta liquid reserved

Season the sardines with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.  When hot, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir constantly until the garlic starts to sizzle. Cook until the garlic is translucent and soft, reducing the heat if necessary so the garlic does not brown at all.  Add the raisins, pine nuts, saffron, parsley and dill and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the sardines, skin side up, and cook for 1 minute. Remove the sardines and reserve.  Raise the heat to medium-high and add the pasta, tossing back and forth to coat. If it looks dry, add some of the cooking liquid. Divide pasta into 4 bowls, top with 2 sardines on each and serve immediately.

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