From the Italian Slow Food Cooks’ Alliance, Lila Bentivegna’s Sardine Soup

On the occasion of Slow Fish 2021, we bring you a fish recipe from Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance Lila Bentivegna, who uses this dish to tell us about her connection to the sea.

fish recipeLila was born right by the sea, in Sciacca, Sicily. Here she grew up in the kitchen of her family’s restaurant, Hostaria del Vicolo. As she grew older, her interest in cooking also grew. So, immediately after high school, in the summer of 2010, Lila joined the kitchen of the Hostaria del Vicolo, where she began a journey that led her to become increasingly passionate about pastry making, the preparation of fresh pasta using ancient Sicilian grains and, above all, to discover the pleasure of rethinking traditional dishes.

Following in the footsteps of her father, who has always been an active member of the Slow Food Chefs’ Alliance, Lila soon became a Slow Food chef and part of the network. Her cuisine is based on the direct relationships that she has with the farmers, dairy farmers and fishermen, Slow Food Presidia and 0 km products. Thanks to the ingredients from the area around her, she likes to rediscover the scents of her childhood and her grandmother’s recipes. Today she offers us the recipe for sardine soup that she inherited from her grandmother.


INGREDIENTS for 2 people

For the fish stock:
-evo oil
-2 celery stalks with leaves
-3 carrots
-1 onion
-1 round tomato
-bones of stock fish (e.g. St. Pierre, monkfish, cod)
-salt to taste

For the sardine sauce
-4 sardines
-a small bunch of wild fennel
-2 teaspoons of pine nuts
-a tablespoon of sultanas
-a glass of Moscato wine
-1 tablespoon of tomato paste
-1 bottle of tomato puree
-1 clove of garlic
-evo oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-colatura di alici
-80 g of broken spaghetti

fish recipe


For the fish stock:
Sauté the oil, celery, carrots and onion, then add the fish bones.
Continue to fry well and add lukewarm water to cover. As soon as it comes to the boil add salt (not too much) and leave the stock to cook for a couple of hours. At the end, strain the stock.

For the sardine sauce:
Start by putting the sultanas in a bowl with the Moscato wine and leaving them to soften. In a saucepan put the chopped garlic and the olive oil, add the previously filleted sardines, wild fennel and pine nuts. Sauté the sardines, wild fennel and pine nuts, then add the Moscato wine and let the sultanas fall into the pan. Then add the tomato paste and mix well with the wooden spoon, immediately afterwards add the tomato puree and a little water. Leave the sauce to cook for a couple of hours, season to taste with salt and pepper.
As soon as the sauce is ready, add 2 to 3 ladles of fish stock and make the sauce quite liquid. Leave it to boil. If necessary, add a little bit of colatura di alici and cook the broken spaghetti directly in the pot.
As soon as the spaghetti is cooked, ladle it into a soup plate and dress with a drizzle of evo oil.

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