Bucatini with golden raisins, fennel and pine nuts

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6
Bucatini with golden raisins, fennel and pine nuts
(Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Cover the raisins with hot water and let soften 15 to 20 minutes.


Warm the olive oil, garlic, anchovies and fennel seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat. After about 5 minutes, the garlic and anchovies will begin to melt into a fairly smooth paste. Add the parsley and keep the mixture warm, but do not let the garlic scorch.


Cook the bucatini in plenty of rapidly boiling, salted water until it is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the bucatini, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, and add the noodles to the skillet with the sauce. Drain the raisins and add to the skillet. Increase the heat to high and add the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook, stirring the mixture together, until most of the water has evaporated and the sauce clings to the noodles, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts. Serve immediately.

This recipe is loosely based on a dish Vincent Schiavelli prepared for one of his regular Sicilian dinners at Alto Palato restaurant in West Hollywood. He called it “Pasta chi Sardi a Mari,” or Pasta With Sardines Still in the Sea, because of its resemblance to the classic Sicilian Pasta chi Sard -- only without the sardines. Bucatini, also known as perciatelli, is a long dried pasta that is shaped like a thick spaghetti with a tiny hole in the center. Spaghetti can also be used.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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