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Ferdinando's

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Jim, I read your little thing about Ferdinando's (in What Jim Ate for Dinner.)

You said don't order fancy pasta here except for the linguini with clams. But I have another exception - the pasta con sarde. It's intensely flavorful, with lots of fennel in addition to the sardines. I don't even like sardines, but I wolfed this down!

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  1. interesting - I had the pasta con sarde a couple years back and was underwhelmed - it wasn't really different from the canned stuff you can buy - leading me to believe whether it was based of canned stuff (the wild fennel to make it cant be readily available around hereat all seasons). Since Ive never eaten dish made fresh, or had it in Sicily, I really don't have a proper basis of comparison.

    Pasta is usually uninspired and overcooked, though my kids suck it down. Even though I like most innards, the spleen sandwich was more than a bit much for me. I just love their rice balls, zapped in the microwave with sauce and ricotta, potato croquettes, those chickpea fritters, marinated grilled eggplant and seafood salad - salads generally. Oh yes, though its been variable, I like their fried calamari with hot tomato sauce. Surprisingly expensive -the sandwiches are the best buy.

    Also their bread when they make it (basic and hot) and the waitreses and patrons. Cross the street when you are finished and buy some fixings for another meal at the Latticini Barese.

    6 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      They use cans of "condimenti per la pasta con le sarde" but add them to onions sauteed in olive oil and top with toasted breadcrumbs. I had the dish in a Sicilian trattoria (now gone) in Rome where it was more delicately sauced but with an intenser fennel undercurrent interrupted by delicious nuggets of salt-cured sardines.

      1. re: Allan Evans

        This is the traditional pasta eaten on st.josephs day. I make fresh pts. and qts. of the sauce with perciatelli pasta and the toasted bread crumbs on the side.(so you can cook it at home)if you or anyone are interested where to get it on march 15 e mail me thanks

        1. re: joey g

          I`ve never been impressed with ferd. much prefer joes of ave. u

        2. re: Allan Evans

          thanks for the verification, Allan - it seemed about like what I had made at home by doctoring the canned stuff - a pallid shade of what the dish must be on its home ground. maybe Ill try again in spring, with fresh, young fennel and good quality sardines.
          Joey, what green do you use to make your sauce? Do they make pasta con sarde with fresh (wild) fennel greens in Italy for St Joseph's day?

          1. re: jen kalb

            Jen,
            The most essential step is to have WILD fennel. Cultivated fennel is noce but finocchio selvatico is what gives the dish its edge. Also bucatini are used (hollow spaghetti) and saffron is added to give it flavor and a yellowish countenance. If you can get to the countryside and nab the wild stuff, then it will be a joy.

            1. re: jen kalb

              I was taught with the fronds from the fennel. Once you cook the greens in water, reserve,and cook pasta in it.