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‘NDUJA FROM CALABRIA: FOOD PAIRING AND RECIPES
‘Nduja from Calabria is definitely addictive; I am sure of it. One taste and you’re in love, because ‘Nduja salami spread is spicy but aromatic, it is creamy, it can enhance the flavour of many dishes and it takes you all the way to Calabria, whenever you feel like it. Even a dish as simple as ‘Nduja salami spread on a toasted slice of bread will satisfy your senses - and your palate.
Thanks to its spicy taste, ‘Nduja pairs really well with cheeses characterised by an intense flavour, such as Gorgonzola, Caciocavallo or smoked Provola. Try it with eggs and sausages, too, or with vegetables and legumes.
‘Nduja is a staple food in Calabria; in the past, people used to keep on the dining table, so that they could always grab it and spread some on bread or pasta according to taste.
The great quality of this soft cold cut lies in its ideal preservation; as a matter of fact, it contains a high percentage of salt and “Tri Pizzi” red hot chilli pepper. This curing spice mix is used to add flavour to the meat mixture made from flavourful pork cuts, such as fatback, pork jowl and belly, which are finely minced. The resulting mixture is manually filled in natural casings, it is slightly smoked in a natural way and then it is left to age between three to six months.
I gave it some thoughts and came to the conclusion that ‘Nduja is one of those foods that know no borders and can be enjoyed by everyone… as long as they like spicy food, of course! It is delicious on its own, it is delicious in traditional recipes, it is delicious in modern recipes, because ‘Nduja is truly one of a kind.
Let’s move on to some recipes with this Calabrian delight, where the diet is the least of our worries!
SPAGHETTI WITH ‘NDUJA
This is undoubtedly the most classic recipe containing the ‘Nduja cold cut. For this recipe, which serves four, you need:
One jar of strained tomatoes
Half a red onion of Tropea
50g Pecorino cheese
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
We start by preparing the spicy sauce: first of all we slice the onion and sauté it in olive oil. When it starts turning translucent, add the ‘Nduja and let it melt little by little over the heat.
Afterwards, add the strained tomatoes and some hot water. Let it simmer while the pasta cooks. Once the pasta is ready, mix it with the sauce and top it with some pecorino cheese and it’s ready! To tell you the truth, this recipe actually serves only three people in my house, because it is just too delicious!
BEAN, TUNA, ONION AND ‘NDUJA SALAD
This recipe doesn’t need exact measurements. It is a delicious salad recipe that can be adjusted according to taste: you may want to add more onions or more ‘Nduja.
What you need is just 5 top-quality ingredients: fresh onions of Tropea, tuna packed in oil, cooked white beans, ‘Nduja from Spilinga and raw extra virgin olive oil. This salad is a mix of everything you like and the result will be simply extraordinary!
BRUSCHETTA ‘NDUJA AND GORGONZOLA… OR PIZZA?
I came up with this recipe a little randomly. I had put some ‘Nduja on homemade pizza together with some gorgonzola cheese, when I thought to myself: why not creating some incredibly tasty and very easy to make bruschetta recipe with these ingredients?
Spread some soft gorgonzola on small bread slices - unsalted, if possible -, add diced mozzarella and a small quantity of ‘Nduja. Then bake in the oven at 180 °C for around 10 minutes. What an extraordinary and simple dish!
OMELETTE WITH SMOKED PROVOLA AND ‘NDUJA
We had to pair the incredible taste of ‘Nduja with the sweet smoked provola cheese!
I love adding ‘Nduja to my omelette. All you need to do is beat the eggs and add a couple of teaspoons of ‘Nduja as well as the diced provola, stir with a spoon and cook the omelette. The amount of ‘Nduja you add depends on how many eggs you use and how spicy you want your omelette to be. You can also add as much cheese as you like; I usually use 150g of provola for a 4-egg omelette.
And if the next day you have some leftover omelette, put it in a sandwich; you can thank me later!