About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Sicilian Sardine Sauce | Main | Pink Shrimp Sauce with Cream »

Baked Pasta con le Sarde with Toasted Almonds


There is a lot going on with this recipe. It has more ingredients than my previous sauces. I got to use fennel from my own garden, which was fun. The layers of flavor are intriguing - anchovies, raisins, pine nuts, onion, saffron, & sardines joined the fennel.


This is a repeat of the sauce recipe Irene reported on yesterday. Instead of tossing the sauce in cooked pasta, my assignment was to layer it with pasta as a baked dish, adding toasted almonds and whole browned sardine filets.


It was a pretty dish -- with a fatal flaw.

The pasta I chose points out that pasta selection isn't just about appearance. It's critical to the success of the dish. Since Marcella didn't suggest a specific pasta, and I though that the bucatini in Irene's version would be difficult to serve in a baked dish, I relied on my own faulty judgement and selected a beautiful large cavatappi. Mistake.


The sauce settled to the bottom of the baking dish because the pasta was too big and bulky. This made the dish appear very dry. I should have used a much smaller pasta. Next time I will.

Instead of serving a nice pretty, filet topped portion from the dish, I ended up dumping it into a bowl and mixing it to redistribute the sauce. Ah, well. What really counts is the flavor. And there was a lot of that.


Comments (3)

Oh Deborah, I think I would have cried. Thanks for sharing the pasta shape/sauce lesson.

Deborah responds:
Well, Susie, at least, before I had to toss it in a bowl, I got a picture of the baked dish just out of the oven.

There is always a silver lining isn't there? Good for you!

Marcella Hazan:

Many years ago, the late Pierre Franey made fun of me for maintaining that the choice of pasta shape and variety was critical to the success of a dish. Ah, what do the French know about Italian cooking? You have just given a demonstration of the importance of making a well considered match of pasta with sauce.

Victor was intrigued by the bottle in your photo. He had heard of the Norton grape and of its successful cultivation in Missouri, but he has never tasted the wine. Of course, he is curious!

Deborah responds: The French would have pureed the pasta, added 10 eggs, and turned it into a soufle. :grin:
Tell Victor to read the book: The Wild Vine by Todd Kliman. I'll send him a bottle of Norton to try.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 22, 2010 6:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Sicilian Sardine Sauce.

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