Spicy fennel linguine with sardines & capers

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

  • Prep:10 mins
    Cook:15 mins
  • Serves 2
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 552
  • fat 20g
  • saturates 3g
  • carbs 65g
  • sugars 5g
  • fibre 8g
  • protein 25g
  • salt 0.9g


  • 175g linguine (or spaghetti)
  • 120g can sardines piccanti (packed in chilli-infused oil - see tip below)
  • 1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained, chopped if large
  • handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)



The oil in ‘sardines piccanti’ (fillets packed in chilli-infused olive oil) is a perfect, prickly hot – but if you’re less into heat, simply use two tablespoons of regular olive oil and some chopped mild chilli or a pinch of chilli flakes.


  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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