1 pound fresh sardines, heads and central bones removed, well-rinsed
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
About 1 cup coarsely-chopped fennel tops
1/4 cup raisins
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts (pignoli)
1 pound dried pasta such as spaghetti or penne
Soak raisins in a bowl of lukewarm water for 20 minutes. In a large pot of boiling, salted water blanch fennel tops, 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, pat dry and chop. Return water to boiling and add pasta. Meanwhile, in a saucepan heat oil over medium heat, add sardines and saute 2 to 3 minutes, mashing with a fork. Season with salt and pepper. Add vinegar and let it evaporate, about 2 minutes. Drain raisins, pat dry and add along with fennel and pine nuts. Cook sauce 1 minute more. When pasta is tender, drain and transfer to a large warmed serving dish. Pour sauce over and toss very well. Serve immediately.;
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