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.