Spaghetti with Saffroned Onions, Greens, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Currants

Sicilian in inspiration, this recipe shows Arabic influences with the saffroned onions and currants, combined with the indigenous Sicilian ingredients of fennel and sun-dried tomatoes. While this pasta is very rich and complex in flavor, it’s inexpensive and easy to prepare.

As a variation, add grilled tuna chunks for an even more wonderful and filling pasta.


  • Salt
  • ½ pound spaghetti
  • cup olive oil
  • cups sliced (¼ inch) onions
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed saffron filaments, steeped 10 minutes in 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 cup sliced ( inch) fennel
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced anchovies
  • ½ to ⅔ cup finely julienned sun-dried tomatoes (see note)
  • ¼ cup currants, plumped in hot water, drained
  • 5 to 6 cups fine chiffonnade (strips) of Swiss chard or escarole



Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender and translucent. 8 to 10 minutes. Add the saffron and cook 1 minute. Then add the fennel, garlic, anchovy, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook until the fennel is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the currants and then the greens and stir until the greens are wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

Drain the pasta and toss quickly with the sauce to combine. Serve immediately. No cheese, please.