Dish No. 9: Bucatini con le Sarde at Donatella Pizzeria
Today's pick: Bucatini con le sarde ($15) at Donatella Pizzeria (184 Eighth Avenue, Chelsea, 212-493-5150)
The premier primi of Sicily is certainly paste con sarde. Donatella chooses bucatini, a thick spaghetti with a bore down the middle to facilitate boiling. The perforation also makes it more fun. Her version deploys fresh sardines (rather than the usual canned, as used in Brooklyn places like Joe's of Avenue U), omits the fennel and uses parsley instead, retains the gaeta olives but doesn't use currants. And, like the regular Sicilian version, the finished product is heaped with bread crumbs. The flavor is salty, fishy, and magnificent by turns.
You'll also be dazzled by the gold-tiled oven at the new restaurant, and, so far, the pizzas are pretty damn good.
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