It all started in the early 9th century A.D. with the commander of the Byzantine navy in Sicily, Euphemius of Messina. The commander's growing influence in the region became a threat to the empire, so the emperor ordered his demotion and falsely charged him with kidnapping and marrying a nun. Euphemius fled to Africa and enlisted the Saracens (Muslim Arabs) to build an army to retaliate. With his new army, he sailed back to the southern coast of Sicily, but the sailors were tired and hungry, and the pantry was almost empty. Thinking quickly, the ship's cook prepared a dish with the few ingredients he had left: wild fennel, pine nuts, dried pasta, saffron, raisins, and sardines pulled straight from the Sicilian bay. And so pasta con le sarde was created (supposedly).