|1 cup • Oil - olive|
|1 1/2 lb • Cleaned fresh sardine filets|
|• Semolina flour • for dusting|
|2 • Medium fennel bulbs, finely chopped, fronds reserved|
|2 • Medium yellow onions • finely chopped|
|2 tbsp • Tomato paste|
|6 • oil packed anchovy filets • drained, finely chopped|
|1 cup • Tomato sauce|
|3 tbsp • Dried currants|
|3 tbsp • Pine nuts|
|1 tsp • Freshly grated nutmeg|
|1/4 tsp • Saffron|
|Kosher salt to taste|
|Freshly ground pepper to taste|
|1 lb • Spaghetti - dry|
Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a 10” skillet over medium-high heat. Toss 6 sardine fillets in semolina to coast, shaking off excess, and then fry in oil until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and then roughly chop and set aside to be used as a garnish.
Heat remaining oil in a 12” skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel and onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 20 minutes. Roughly chop; add remaining sardines along with the tomato paste and anchovies, and cook, stirring often, until broken down and melted into the sauce, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, currants, pine nuts, nutmeg, saffron, and salt and pepper; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta; cook until al dente, 7-8 minutes. Drain and transfer pasta to a sauce along with fennel fronds and toss until evenly coated; top with reserved fried sardines, and serve immediately.