By: Zach Diamond
Calling all lovers of heat! All lovers of umami! Ready to immerse yourself into the Calabrian world of aromatic complexity, rich acidity and latent spice? Well, cheers, this one’s for you. It’s no wonder that Calabria is located at the toe of the boot of Italy, because their flavors really kick. The main ingredient doing the kicking in this recipe is ‘nduja, the spicy, spreadable salami providing meatiness and funk. It’s also incredibly versatile. If the above flavors have you drooling, then you’ll probably want to use this sauce on just about everything. In this recipe, we’ll provide you with an ‘nduja sauce that can be used as the basis to a variety of dishes and then show you one of our favorite implementations.
Yield: 2 cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
2 oz ‘nduja, casing removed (room temp if possible, 1 oz reserved for later dish)
2 oz diced guanciale (can also use prosciutto)
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 medium shallot - sliced thin
1 sprig fresh oregano
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add ‘nduja and guanciale. The pan should be hot enough to render the fat from the meats but not too hot to burn them. With a wooden spoon, mash the ‘nduja so that it breaks into crumbles. Stir to avoid overcooking, approximately 2 minutes.
Once the pan is oily from the rendered fat, turn heat to medium high and add in the garlic, shallot and fresh oregano. Stir about 1 minute or until fragrant.
Add in white wine and vinegar and bring to a simmer. Allow the wine to reduce and some of the liquid to evaporate. This step should smell amazing. Open a window to make your neighbors jealous. Invite them over if you so desire.
Stir in stock and let simmer for 20-30 minutes not allowing for too much liquid to evaporate.
Strain the sauce. It should be a vibrant red color, tasting complex and spicy with a silky texture.
This sauce tastes great as is - you can spoon it over grilled pork or roasted chicken, or add a splash to dishes that need more spice or acidity. We like to add it to crushed tomatoes with a little extra ‘nduja to make a surprisingly light but spicy pasta sauce.
Yield: Serves 2
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 oz ‘nduja
1 cup fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
Splash of white wine
1 cup ‘nduja sauce
14 oz fusilli pasta (can substitute any pasta here)
1 lemon wedge
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Fresh grated parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
In a saucepan over medium high heat, add ‘nduja and mash with a wooden spoon until fat begins to render and the meat crumbles.
Add tomatoes and splash of white wine and bring to a simmer.
Add ‘nduja sauce and stir.
While the sauce simmers, cook pasta until al dente and drain.
Add cooked pasta to the saucepan, squeeze in the lemon and mix to cover the pasta.
Transfer to bowls and serve immediately, topped with any extra sauce, fresh parsley and grate parmesan.