Spaghetti with ‘Nduja

‘Nduja is a spicy, spreadable, Calabrian sausage up there with the trendiest of ingredients. For months I’ve resisted its porky charms, the only reason being that my only other experience with a (different) spreadable sausage (at a very popular East London restaurant) ended in 3 days of food poisoning hell. The very idea of spreadable meat made me queasy, until I came across a ‘nduja stall in Borough Market last week. The giant red lobes glistened seductively in the sunlight, I approached cautiously for a taste, then promptly kicked myself for being such a wuss and missing out on what is one of the most delicious pork products I’ve tasted in a very long time.

It is made mostly from bits of the head, super-charged with outrageous quantities of fiery red Calabrian chilli pepper (at least 60% according to some websites) which gives it the most intensely savoury umami addictive quality. You can just taste the sun in the bitter-sweet intensity of those red peppers. I can’t get enough.

It’s wonderful melted and scrambled into eggs, or used as a dip for bread (as the Calabrians apparently eat it). Tim Hayward likes it with crab. My favourite way to eat it is melted into pasta sauce, with or without tomato. Its power to enrich a basic tomato pasta sauce is second to none but now I prefer it stirred into just a little onion and butter; the sausage melts away to a hundred flecks of scarlet pepper swirling in heavenly porcine oil. Mixed through spaghetti, with just a squeeze of lemon, this may be one of the most perfect pasta sauces of all time.

Spaghetti with Nduja (some people say this amount of pasta should serve 2 people; I can eat the lot no problem)

200g spaghetti
1 generous heaped tablespoon nduja sausage (it will keep for months in the fridge, too)
Half a small white onion, finely chopped
A knob of butter
A squeeze of lemon juice
A few leaves of parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water. Meanwhile, melt the butter and soften the onions it. When they are translucent, melt in the nduja. Add a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper.

When the spaghetti is cooked, spoon 2 tablespoons of the cooking water into the sauce, then drain the pasta. Mix the sauce with the spaghetti and serve, scattered with the parsley.

Category: Main Dishes, Meat, Pasta | Tags: , , , , , , , , 33 comments »

33 Responses to “Spaghetti with ‘Nduja”

  1. Chris

    Well that looks a bit fucking awesome doesn’t it.

  2. The Graphic Foodie

    Beautiful spaghetti twirls by the way! Very neat :)

  3. Tori @eat-tori

    Man I love that stall. My favourite is adding some chopped cherry tomatoes and using it as a base for baked eggs. Cures a hangover pretty quick smart.

  4. thelittleloaf

    N’duja is delicious…I first tried it at l’Anima a few years ago but recently it seems to have become seriously popular. Putting it in pasta is perfect and agree, could easily wolf down a 200g bowl by myself…especially looking at those delicious pics :-)

  5. Lizzie

    I love oil-dressed pastas for a change to the more saucy ones; this looks delicious.

    (Thinking about food poisoning from a spreadable sossidge gives me the queases.)

  6. Andy K

    Hey Helen – great article, nduja rocks!

    I tried this recipe the other day and really enjoyed it. The chickpeas really added to the texture and interest of the dish…

  7. emma

    NOT BAD AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Robert

    Nice find. I’ve never heard of it until now but I want some!

  9. Gary @ The Greedy Fork

    Love pasta. Love sausage. One problem. Where to find this Nduja in Lancashire. Enter sad face :(
    I will do my best to find it though :)

  10. Maunika

    Spicy spreadable sausage sounds lush… would be amazing even smeared on toast and melty cheese. Will have to look out for this, not sure alot of places sell it in Newcastle. Love the colours Helen esp w the herbs & spaghetti x

  11. Helen T

    Sounds delicious, like an alternative to chorizo, but different.

  12. Hanna

    That looks utterly delicious, have to try it for myself v. soon!

  13. Meatball Micky

    I love nduja, and this is a great idea. I like it with scrambled eggs to kick start my day, or on crispbread. Quite often I just stuff it in my face as it it is, it never lasts long Chez Micky.

  14. Ailsa

    Generally speaking ‘spreadable’ is a bad adjective for a food to have, but I think I want to make an exception for this.

  15. Craftilicious

    OMG – I bet its going to be something else I can’t get my hands up in the grim and backwards north (I’m allowed to say that I’m a northerner!) I am just going to start having to drive to London with a LARGE cool box once a month!!!
    Tara x

  16. zuko

    Hi Helen, long-time-lurker-first-time-poster here – love the blog!

    Made this the other night and loved it, the lemon really cuts through the chili nicely.

    For anyone struggling to find nduja, they’ve just started doing it in Waitrose, in the cooked meats section.

  17. Helen

    So glad you like it! And thanks very much for the tip of about Waitrose too.

  18. dcnoisemaker

    Best way I’ve eaten nduja recently is at Brunswick House Cafe where Jackson Boxer and Nick Balfe are serving it spread thinly on sourdough toast, grilled slightly to melt it and then the meaty, crispy, spicy yumminess is sexed up even further with goat’s curd and drizzled with Camberwell honey! An amazing breakfast if ever there was one! Easy to get too without even having to leave the sofa! Very cheap too! The nduja di spilinga is only £2.50 per sausage approx 100g but it goes a very long way as it is seriously spicy!

  19. Morella

    The best place to get ‘Nduja from is The Taste of Calabria, they have the original ‘Nduja, 100% made in Calabria and they post all over the UK..

  20. Craftilicious

    Very happy bunny today – just discovered that unearthed have started to sell this in my local Waitrose – yummy pasta for tea :-D

  21. Helen

    Brilliant! I hope it’s the good stuff…

  22. Giorgio

    ‘Nduja is delicious. It was called the “caviar of the poor” in Italy ! Cheap cuts of meat were used to produce it. That’s why it was popular among poor classes.

  23. Chloe

    Hi – that recipe looks wonderful. I was wondering if you could tell me if Nduja contains tomatoes. I’m allergic to them (sob) and this looks like an ingredient which I could use as a sort-of subsitute to make my diet more varied. Thanks!

  24. Helen

    Hi, as far as I know it contains no tomatoes, but I would recommend contacting a supplier because I don’t want to be responsible for some terrible accident!

  25. pauline

    Do check the nduja you use, ours from Lima in Soho was exceptionally hot, even for fire eaters like ourselves. A pretaste could stop you using too much and making the dish all but inedible.

  26. Helen

    Ha ha! Sorry Pauline, I shouldn’t laugh. Thanks for the tip though!

  27. Vendavel

    There’s an open packet of njuda in my fridge… it’s been there over a month… chow or bin?

  28. Helen

    Personally, I would chow! I think it lasts for ages. If it doesn’t smell bad or have mould on it, definitely chow.

  29. the_junes

    Some nduja news. They do an nduja pizza at Pizza Lupa, SE1. Bit far for SE15 delivery sadly.

  30. Helen

    They even do one in Pizza Express!!

  31. davide

    like nduja very much since my uncle’s relatives brought back some fro calabria! years later found something similar in Mallorca, sobrasada!
    will replicate this pasta with some of it, surely can’t go wrong alongside some argie Malbec!

  32. Sir Arthur

    There’s actually a really good version of this on the menu at Cantina on Shad Thames – it’s got more sauce and less pasta than yours though (and uses some sort of frilly Pappardelle).

  33. Helen

    There’s a good restaurant on Shad Thames?! ;)

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