Baked pici pasta with sardines

Pici is a type of pasta very popular in Tuscany: it's rather like a fat spaghetti, usually prepared by hand like the Venetian ‘bigoli’, its close cousin. Pici are often served with a rich sauce based on garlic, but is also good with a meat sauce, sausage, etc. Today we would like to make an equally rich sauce for the pici pasta, but with fish rather than meat. We hit on the idea of using some lovely big sardines, and decided to make a delicious, full-bodied and flavourful sauce with them.


45 minutes Total time
22 minutes Active time
Serves 4 persons
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Start by cooking the pici pasta in boiling salt water. Bear in mind that the pici cook in about 22 minutes, and that given that they will also be cooked in the oven, you'll have to drain them while quite al dente, about 5-7 minutes before the end. Fry two cloves of garlic with a little olive oil in a pan, then add the halved tomatoes. Let them cook for about ten minutes, then add the capers, raisins and chilli. When you have a nice, not-too-dry sauce, add the boned sardines cut into large pieces. Heat everything through, season with salt and add the drained pici ‘al dente’. Mix well, then transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish lined with tin foil. Cover and seal with more tin foil, and then bake for 7 minutes at 180°C. Remove from the oven and serve.

When preparing a dish of baked pasta, always remember to stop cooking the pasta when it is still noticeably ‘al dente’ before putting it in the oven, and pay attention to the cooking time.
We mentioned that pici pasta is a specialty of Tuscany, but we could specify further: they are in fact typical of the provinces of Siena and Grosseto.

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