Home Italy Revisited Bookshelf Plays About Mary Melfi Contact Us
X Italian Pasta Dishes
Spaghetti e finocchio siciliana di san giuseppa
Spaghetti con Finocchio Siciliana di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's Day Spaghetti with Fennel, Sicilian style)
Originated from: Sicily, Italy
Occasion: The Feast Day of St. Joseph
Contributed by: Mary Melfi

Printer Friendly Version


1 lb spaghetti
1/2 pound fresh small sardines
1 fennel bulb
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/8 cup water
2 cups toasted "plain" breadcrumbs, preferably home-made
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons seedless taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Large pot of water to cook spaghetti
1 tablespoon salt


o Clean sardines.

o Chop onion.

o Chop fennel bulb, retaining the feathery leaves.

o Heat up oil.

o Fry sardines until done -- about 10 minutes). Remove and set aside.

o In the same oil, fry chopped onion and fennel until the onion is golden and the fennel is soft.

o Continue frying until the fennel is cooked, adding 1/8 cup of water to prevent burning.

o Add 1/2 raisins and pine nuts.

o When the fennel is absolutely cooked, add the fried sardines to the tossing sauce. Mix well.

o Meanwhile, roast breadcrumbs.

o Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the pot of water.

o Cook spaghetti to desired tenderness.

o Drain.

o In a large bowl add half of the tossing sauce to the spaghetti. Mix well.

o Sprinkle with half of the toasted breadcrumbs and mix well.

o Place tossed spaghetti in individual plates.

o Garnish with extra tossing sauce, breadcrumbs, pine nuts and raisins.

o Decorate with fennel leaves (optional).

o Serve warm.


This is a typical St. Joseph's Day dish served in Sicily.... Generally speaking, St. Joseph's pasta dishes are garnished with breadcrumbs rather than grated cheese. Breadcrumbs, according to food historians, represent the "sawdust" that St. Joseph, as a carpenter, would have had plenty about in his place of work. Photo: Mary Melfi.

Back to main list