'Nduja: pork sausage and hot chili peppers a go go

The first time I had the Calabrian pork sausage 'nduja was at an impromptu dinner party in Florence. The hostess was Calabrese and decided to prendemi in giro by putting a dollop or two of this explosive concoction in the sautee pan. Although I have a high tolerance for heat, this was a bit much to handle. Essentially, 'nduja is a fresh and spreadable pork sausage, sometimes with bits of offal. Sounds like andouille or andouillette, doesn't it? Not quite the same thing. The twist is that the sausage is stuffed with very spicy Calabrian chili peppers and should be eaten with caution.

'Nduja is typically used as a bruschetta condiment or a spicy addition to pasta. In Rome, I visited the mozzarella bar Obikà and it was served on toasted bread atop a bed of arugula. Best part was when the antipasto was finished and bits of 'nduja crumbled off into the arugula, then mixed with olive oil for a very spicy insalata. At Gastronomia Volpetti in the old butchers neighborhood of Testaccio in Southern Roma, I took home a jar of 'Nduja. Atop the counter was fresh 'nduja, which I would have gladly stuffed in my suitcase if I did not care about minor things like spoilage and stained clothes.

So enjoy the 'nduja pic from Obikà and stay tuned for another Calabrian themed post in my Piccolo Gastronomo blog involving 'nduja and the famed purple onions of Tropea, which I smuggled home unmolested by U.S. Customs.

Buon appetito!


Do Bianchi said...

That looks so good... It's a tough wine pairing: maybe we should ask Dr. Vino for his "impossible pairings" post? The first thing that comes to mind is Alsatian Riesling... Great post... I love that she was trying to give you a hard time by serving you this dish!

E L said...

I worked for a year at a Sicilan restaurant in Bologna, under the tutelage of Chef Francesco di Natale, and we used to get fresh 'nduja shipped up once a week from one of his connections down south.

We used it sparingly, more as a condiment than as a featured item in a dish. It was primarily used for an Orrechiette dish with broccoli. While the pasta cooked, the pan sauce was prepared by sauteeing a whole garlic clove, a couple small dried chiles, and a couple salted anchovy filets in extra virgin olive oil. Then the cooked broccoli went in, allowed to cook down a bit, and then mashed slightly. The 'nduja was added to the pan just before the pasta as a way to build flavor in the dish.

It's a fabulous ingredient and one that's hardly ever mentioned outside of Italy. Nice find.

scott said...

I only just found your blog. But, I'm glad I did. There are a few of us home salumei who have taken to this salame. Here is the link:
sorry to have come so late to the party, but, I thought you would enjoy it!