Just last year we discovered an amazing spicy pork product called nduja that is sold in salami form but has a soft, spreadable consistency at room temperature. Although we love it simply spread on crusty bread, it is also wonderful used in pasta dishes such as this one.
Nduja originates from a small village in the Monte Poro mountain. Nduja is a pork-based product in which ground pork is kneaded together with salt and Calabrian chili pepper. The mixture is then made into sausage by encasing the mixture in the animal’s natural intestinal lining. The sausage is finally slightly smoked and allowed to rest and season for a number of months. You can read more about Nduja in this NY Times article.
Because of it’s heat, a little nduja goes a long way so it is best to start out with a couple of tablespoons and add more of you’d like more spice. It is always easy to add more, but very difficult to undue if you have added too much nduja to start with. We love the canned pomodorini tomatoes we can buy here in Italy so I used these in this pasta recipe but you could also use fresh cherry tomatoes, or chopped tomatoes. Because this is a spicy sauce, you normally would not add cheese which would decrease the heat, but that certainly is a personal preference!
- 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Onions
- 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
- Approximately 3 Tablespoons Nduja Removed From The Casing
- 1 (14 Ounce) Can Pomodorini Tomatoes (See Note Above For Alternatives)
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Cooked Chickpeas
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 250 Grams Penne Pasta
- In a small saucepan heat the olive oil and cook the onion until it is translucent.
- Add the garlic and nduja and stir until the nduja melts into the oil.
- Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, chickpeas, and parsley and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.
- Cook your pasta until "al dente" and drain.
- Return the pasta to the pot, add the nduja sauce and cook for a minute of two over high heat stirring constantly.
- Serve piping hot.