Wednesday, 18 May 2011


To me that seems like an obvious start to a bad joke.. along the lines of "Nduja? No she went of her own accord..." but I couldn't think of a suitable punchline. But anyway.

The pic by the way is of my parcels of yumminess brought back from Volpetti, Rome - I strongly urge anyone who visits Rome to check it out, the address can be found on the previous post: an amazing deli staffed by lovely guys who really know their stuff. Just try not to spend as much as I did.

So, included in the parcel was a hunk of Nduja (en-doo-ya), a soft & very spicy Calabrian salami that is absolutely delicious simply smeared on toast but that also calls out for inclusion in a rich tomato based pasta sauce.  It also goes well with other pork based dishes.  A griddled pork chop being a case in point.

What follows are a couple of the recipes I used it in - 2 variations-on-a-theme pasta dishes and a Nduja topped pork steak.  And very delicious (if I say so myself) they all were.

Pici with Nduja sauce
Serves 2

1 banana shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp Nduja
Small tin of chopped tomatoes
½ small glass of red wine (drink the rest while cooking)
½ tsp red wine vinegar
handful parsley, chopped
Sugar to taste
150g pici (or short pasta of choice)
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Pecorino Romano

Sauté the shallots over a low heat slowly in olive oil until translucent & soft.  About 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the wine, letting the alcohol boil off and then add the tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes further with the back of a wooden spoon and simmer for at least 20 minutes adding salt & pepper, a dash of sugar and ½ tsp of red wine vinegar.

In a separate pan, about half way through the simmering time, bring generously salted water ("as salty as the sea") to the boil & cook the pasta according to the instructions..

Add the nduja to sauce and stir allowing it to melt into the sauce.  

When the pasta is cooked al dente, add 2 tbsps of the pasta cooking water to the sauce. Drain the pasta, tip into the sauce and mix well. 

Stir in the parsley & half of the pecorino. Serve with the remaining pecorino sprinkled over.

Conchiglie with Nduja & tenderstem broccoli
Serves 2

2 tsp olive oil
50g cooking chorizo, chopped into small pieces
Small onion, finely chopped

1 lge garlic clove, thinly sliced
Handful of cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
15g semi dried tomatoes
100ml white wine
75g tenderstem broccoli
2 tbsp nduja
200g wholewheat conchigle
Parsley to serve
Pecorino Romano or parmesan to serve

Heat some oil in a large sauté pan, big enough to eventually hold the drained, cooked pasta.

Add the onion and chorizo, cook gently over a low flame until the onion is soft and translucent and the chorizo is turning the oil a fragrant red. Add the garlic, and cook for a further minute or two. 

Tip in the chopped fresh and semi dried tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes more before adding the wine.

Let this simmer and in the meantime bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and after about five minutes the broccoli (I think the broccoli in this case does well by being well cooked).

Just before the pasta is ready add the Nduja to the pasta sauce, again stirring so it melts into the sauce.

Drain the pasta and broccoli, adding a little of the pasta water to the sauce to loosen a bit. Tip the pasta and broccoli into the sauce and stir through gently.

Serve, sprinkled with the fresh parsley and a little pecorino.

Pork steaks with Nduja & honey
Serves 2

This was apparently originally on the menu at a restaurant called The Purple Pig in Chicago which has recently been named as one of the top new restaurants in US and has variously described as a gastropub, a “European” restaurant, a Mediterranean resttaurant and a winebar. It doesn’t seem to me to fit any of those titles particularly but I do like their own tagline of “cheese, swine & wine”.

This recipe also calls for brining the pork which I've not really seen outside of US recipes but I thought I'd give it a go. The meat was perhaps a little moister but in all honesty I'm not convinced it made a huge amount of difference and could probably be omitted if you can't be bothered.

350ml water
2 tbsps coarse salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 pork shoulder steaks
1 tsp olive oil
65g nduja (the original recipe called for this to be cut into very thin slices and I say “eh?”)
1 tbsp + 2 tsp honey

Combine the water, salt & sugar in a dish large enough to hold the steaks & stir until the salt and sugar dissolve. Place the pork steaks in the brine in the dish. Cover and chill for 2-4 hours.

Remove the pork steaks from brine and wipe dry. Rub the oil onto both sides of the steaks & sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.

Heat a griddle over a medium-high heat until almost smoking. Place the steaks on the griddle and cook for 3 minutes. Turn the steaks over and immediately top each with the nduja, dividing it equally between the two. If the steaks are thick then clearly they will need a longer cooking time.

Cook until the pork is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer and then spoon ½ tbsp of honey over each.

Transfer the pork steaks, nduja side down to warmed plates then sprinkle a tsp of honey over the topsides of them. Serve with parsley jersey royals & a mixed salad.

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