Pasta Milanese/Pasta con Sarde

Pasta Milanese or Pasta con Sarde is a St. Joseph’s Day tradition for Sicilians. The Saint Joseph’s Day menu is meat-free because this day falls during the Lenten season. I’ve seen many different versions of this recipe but this one was given to me by my Mom, so I’m sticking with this one. Don’t worry about the anchovies, you won’t even taste them in this dish. It’s mainly used for the salt. My husband hates…I mean hates cauliflower but loves this dish.

1 medium cauliflower, broken into pieces, steamed until softened (put aside for sauce later)
1 large onion chopped
2-4 garlic cloves chopped
1-2 cans rolled anchovies with capers
3 small cans tomato paste
5 tomato paste cans of water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasonings
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley
1 small box of raisins (about 1 handful)
½ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 lb. bucatini pasta

In a large pot, saute onions, garlic and anchovies in olive oil (anchovies will disintegrate, I only use 1 can of anchovies some people like more) Simmer until onions are soft and the anchovies have disintegrated. Add tomato paste, water, sugar, oregano, salt, pepper, parsley, raisins and pine nuts. Simmer about 20 minutes, until cauliflower is soft and broken up into very small pieces. The cauliflower will thicken the sauce. In the meantime, place about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a fry pan with the breadcrumbs. Toast until crumbs are golden brown. Cool. When pasta is cooked, place onto plates and cover with sauce, top with toasted crumbs

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13 Responses to Pasta Milanese/Pasta con Sarde

  1. susie says:

    My mouth is watering….

  2. Susie this is such a great recipe. You have to try this!

  3. Ingrid says:

    Is the cauliflower supposed to fall completely apart?

  4. Yes Ingrid. I also helped it along with a big spoon. 😉

  5. Steve Panzica says:

    This was my favorite dish growing up that my grandmother made. I called it “sticky spaghetti” Since her death I have tried and tried to find the exact recipe that she made.
    I will give this a try as it seems the closest I have found.

  6. Steve, that would make me so very happy if it was the recipe. Please keep me posted. I know you will love it.

  7. Steve Panzica says:

    It was awesome! Even my kids liked it as they didnt remember having it when my Gma was still alive. I omitted the raisins as she never used them in hers. I also added some red sause on each servering. It was fantastic. Thank you for reviving one of my most fondest food memories.

  8. Steve, you made my day! Enjoy!

  9. Donna says:

    I tried this recipe last night and my husband and I loved it. He does not like anchioves or cauliflower but you would not have known it by the way he was eating his plate of pasta.
    Thank-You for sharing.

  10. So glad you and your husband enjoyed Donna!

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  12. Ingrid says:

    Buccatini is the long hollow spaghetti, right? Looks yummy.

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