Spicy fennel linguine with sardines & capers

Spicy fennel linguine with sardines & capers

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(9 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 2
Fennel adds an aniseed punch to this quick pasta dish with chilli-infused sardines, zesty lemon and parsley

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal552
  • fat20g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs65g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre8g
  • protein25g
  • salt0.9g
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  • 175g linguine (or spaghetti)
  • 120g can sardines piccanti (packed in chilli-infused oil - see tip below)



    Sardines are named after the island of Sardinia, where they were once found in abundance. Found…

  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
    Fennel bulb

    Fennel bulb

    Like Marmite, fennel is something that you either love or hate – its strong aniseed…

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • zest and juice 1 lemon



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 1 tbsp capers, drained, chopped if large
    Capers in bowl



    Capers are the small flower buds of the Capparis shrub that grows in the Mediterranean. As they…

  • handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)


  1. Cook the pasta following pack instructions until al dente. Meanwhile, drain the oil from the sardines into a large frying pan set over a medium heat. Add the fennel, garlic and lemon zest, then cook for 10 mins, stirring often, until the fennel is tender and starting to colour.

  2. Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the cooking water. Tip the sardines (and the whole chillies from the can, if you like) onto the fennel. Break the fish up a little with a wooden spoon, then add the capers, parsley, pasta and 2 tbsp lemon juice. Season to taste. If the pasta seems a little dry, add 2 tbsp of the cooking water and stir gently. Pile onto plates and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Cookiecaron's picture
11th Mar, 2020
Love this recipe. So easy to make. Great mid week meal. Delicious.
Elizabeth Leicester's picture
Elizabeth Leicester
16th Jun, 2018
Simple and delicious - even with "plain" sardines. The fennel is lovely.
22nd Feb, 2017
Delicious, cheap and easy, plus pretty healthy too. First made this from the magazine (July 2015) and I love it.
12th Apr, 2016
I can't believe I am the first to rate this brilliant dish. Do you want to be transported to Italy? This recipe is so cheap (chilli sardines are only 40p!!) , fresh, easy and delicious (if you are a fan of sardines, not everyone's cup of tea I know). My husband and I always look at each other smugly after we've eaten this. It's a staple in our house. I also add toasted pine nuts on the top. Spelt spaghetti goes well too. I've never had to add any extra water at the end. The lemon juice just wets it enough. Try it!!
22nd Feb, 2017
I agree! Delicious.
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