*This post is in partnership with Barilla. I’m so thrilled to work with them and proclaim a shared belief that pasta is art. “Each piece of pasta is a small piece of design that combines beauty and taste.” Chefs from around the world recently competed in Paris at the Pasta World Championship. Check out their Instagram page to meet the chefs and see the winning dish.

I’m back with more pasta inspired by the 8th annual Barilla Pasta World Championship. The competition is officially complete, and a winner has been selected. 

You guys, when I saw the competing dishes I was so impressed. The recipes for these incredible pasta dishes were pages long. There were powders and foams and multiple sauces on one plate. Mine? Well, I thought the crispy salami was a nice touch. This is why I’m the one at home sitting and eating the pasta and not out there competing. Because when all is said and done simplicity is whereI reside and I want you to be able to easily recreate this dish at home! 


That’s not to say I didn’t study the recipes from these chefs because their ingenuity and complexity fascinates me. I love learning from these masters – studying their methods and watching what ingredients they gather and using that to inspire a recipe that fits in our home.

Like the recipe from the Canadian competitor, Kshitiz Sethi. I was so intrigued by the combination of sardines, fennel, tomato, pine nuts and raisins that I had to give it a go. Of course, the recipe also wanted me to sous vide fresh sardines and make a delicate broth of fennel and tomatoes but I turned his idea into a 20-minute, accessible pasta dish that you can make with ingredients you most likely have in your pantry. 


Congratulations to all the competitors. Thanks for always inspiring. 

spaghetti con le sarde

Inspired by Kshitiz Sethi - the Canadian competitor in the Pasta World Championships


12 ounces Barilla Collezione Spaghetti

Sea salt

1 small shallot, diced

1 small fennel bulb (with greens and stems)

1 sardine, packed in oil, bones removed and minced

2 tablespoons minced pepperoncini

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes

Chili flake

1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen

Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving


Remove the stems from the fennel bulb. Set aside 1/2 cup of the fennel fronds and slice the fennel bulb.

Set a large pot of water over high heat. Add the fennel stems to the pot and enough salt to make the water taste of the sea. 

While the water boils add olive oil to a large skillet. Sauté the shallot and fennel bulb until just starting to caramelize, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add a pinch of salt along with the sardine and pepperoncini. Sauté for one minute more. Stir in the tomato paste, pine nuts and golden raisins. Mix well and cook for 1 to 2 minutes before add the diced tomatoes. Add another pinch of salt and fennel pollen then let the sauce simmer while you cook the pasta.

Add some pasta water to the sauce if it gets too dry.

Drain the cooked pasta but be sure to reserve some of the pasta water. Add the pasta (minus the fennel stems) to the skillet with the sauce. Add pasta water to the sauce as needed. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Transfer the pasta to a serving platter then top with fennel fronds and Parmigiano-Reggiano.