12 ounces spaghetti or linguine
3/4 cup breadcrumbs or panko
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 cup minced fennel bulb, reserve fronds
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 (4.25 ounce) tin sardines in olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges for serving


1. Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta

2. In a small skillet, heat a dash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, season lightly with salt and pepper, stir constantly until the crumbs are lightly toasted and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside

3. In a large skillet, heat 2T olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and fennel. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until soft and slightly caramelized, 5 to 7  minutes.

4. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic. Sauté for a minute and then deglaze with white wine, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan until wine is almost evaporated.

5. Add the sardines, break them apart gently and cook just long enough to heat through, 2 minutes.

6. Stir in the lemon zest, parsley, and capers, remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.

7. Cook the pasta according to package directions, strain. Return the pasta to the pasta pot and set over low heat. Fold in the fennel-sardine mixture. Toss in the remaining 3T olive oil. Add a quarter of the breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

8. Divide pasta among plates and sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs and garnish with the fennel fronds. Serve immediately.