‘Nduja, is a spicy spreadable sausage from the Calabrian region of Italy. Read on to learn all about ‘nduja, how to use it, why it deserves a space in your fridge as well as some of the best ‘Nduja recipes.
What Is ’Nduja?
’Nduja, an intensely spicy, spreadable pork sausage paste from Calabria (the toe of the boot of Italy!), became a big new food fashion in the English speaking world around five years ago. Today, it’s everywhere, on the menu of every pizza takeaway.
This traditional Italian sausage originates in the area around Spilinga, closer to Tunis than Tuscany. It is a piquant treat for those who like their food punchy.
’Nduja is the result of the classic waste not, want not attitude of an area where people had to make the most of food. Originally, everything went into the sausage – brawn, fat and offal, as well as all the offcuts from the fancier joints.
Today it consists mostly of the fattier cuts of meat and may not contain offal at all.
Hot chillies work as a natural preservative, keeping the meat good through leaner months. Add to those some peppers and tomatoes, and you have a sausage that looks as fiery as it tastes.
How do you pronounce ‘Nduja?
“‘Nduja” certainly doesn’t look like regular Italian, does it?
The name seems to come to the Calabrian dialect from the French andouille, and it varies from town to town: anduja, ’ndugghia, ’ndud, anduglia. It more or less works out as en-DOO-ya or en-DOO-zya.
What does ’Nduja taste like?
Hot, spicy, fiery and very very addictive. Once you start your ‘nduja habit you will find it hard to kick it!
For those not in the know think it if as a condiment, a meaty mustard as it were.
Do You Have to Cook ’Nduja?
You don’t have to cook it. Smooth and soft, you can spread this sausage on toast or crackers straight from the packet. However, it comes into its own on pizza or pasta dishes.
’Nduja will more or less melt into a sauce, so that it can be hard to identify where that wonderful savouriness is coming from.
What is ’Nduja Paste?
‘Nduja is produced as a sausage that contains the soft paste. Many producers will also be producing their ‘nduja in a pasta form – maybe with some other ingredients.
We just stick to the sausage.
Is ’Nduja Similar to Chorizo?
Yes and no!
‘Nduja and Spanish chorizo sausage are both spicy preserved pork products. With a similar colour, both are traditionally fermented.
Generally ‘nduja is softer (although some chorizos are soft and spreadable. However, while chorizo can be spreadable it is usually firmer than ‘nduja.
‘Nduja has a fiery hotness, whilst chorizo; although hot, has a drier flavour from the traditional paprika.
How Long Does ’Nduja Last in the Fridge? Does it Go Bad?
’Nduja is preserved meat, fermented and packed with chilli and salt. This means it was designed to ensure the meat keeps well, even without refrigeration.
It is probably safer to keep it in the fridge once the packet is open, but you should be able to keep it for a month (check what it says on the packet). If you are getting through it too slowly, you can freeze it.
Be it fridge or freezer make sure that it is tightly wrapped to prevent the air getting to it the best you can.
After a few weeks in the fridge the cut surface of your ‘ndjua might have darkened a little – due to the fat oxidising. If you can taste a difference then cut it off, if not go right ahead and use it.
How Can I Use ’Nduja?
We love ‘nudja on pizza, which is how we and countless others first discovered it, but it is so much more than that. A little goes a long way, think of it as a condiment as well as an ingredient.
Use ’nduja in classic robust southern Italian dishes. It is good with pasta, gnocchi, on pizzas or in risotto.
In Calabria, it is a popular addition to frittatas or in fritters of zucchini flowers or aubergine slices.
‘Ndula Breakfast / Brunch Recipes
Just like bacon ‘nduja pairs brilliantly with eggs. We love to:-
- Melt some in the pan when frying eggs
- Stir into scrambled eggs
- Mix into the tomato sauce when making shakshuka
- Mix into a tortilla or frittata
‘Nudja dips, dressings & sauces
The “meltiness” of ‘nudja makes it perfect for jazzing up everyday dips, dressings and condiments. Why not try?
- Melting into butter to make a soft spreadable ‘nduja butter
- Stirring through mayonnaise
- mixing into your favourite dips – ‘nduja hummus sounds SO good!
- in a vignette
Appetisers and starters with ‘nduja
Because of its intense flavour ‘Nduja is fantastic for adding a punchy hit of heat and flavour to appetisers and starters.
Pasta Recipes with ‘Nduja
A little goes a long way – so ‘nduja is a fantastic way to add in a shot of heat to pasta and pasta sauces
Mains with ‘Nduja
Not just for pasta – add a spicy kick to a corned beef hash.
Spread some ‘nduja under the skin when next roasting a chicken.
Sweet ‘Nduja Recipes
Chocolate and chilli is a classic combination, which these truffles with a twist makes use of.
Have you tried ‘nudja yet? Let me know in the comments.
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