This is my go-to comfort dinner. I first saw this recipe in Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italian, and since then I've made my own variations of it. I've eaten it before running a marathon, and the night before my son was born. I've served it to guests. It is fast, easy and far more delicious than the minimal work involved lets on.


1 can of good quality sardines
1 piece fresh smashed garlic
1 bunch fennel
1 dash hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs (optional)
1/2 packet regular or whole-wheat spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 pieces anchovies
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 pinch grated parmesean cheese to taste


Step 1
While you boil your pasta water, prepare the veggies. Smash your garlic clove and remove fennel fronds. Set aside. Remove the woody end and core of the fennel, and thinly slice fennel bulb.

Step 2
Add pasta to salted, boiling water. \r\nAdd the olive oil to a separate pan, and turn on heat.

Step 3
Add garlic, anchovies and hot pepper flakes to pan. Stir to dissolve the anchovies.\r\nAdd fennel slices, stir, and cover. Cook fennel until lightly browned and soft.

Step 4
Add drained sardines to the pan, stirring gently to break up.

Step 5
Drain the cooked pasta, and add to pan with fennel and sardines. Toss. \r\nGarnish with pine nuts and grated cheese if desired. Black pepper is also lovely.