Pasta with ‘Nduja Tomato Sauce
By Chef John Ash
Nduja is a soft, spreadable fermented pork salume, spiked with fiery Calabrian chiles. Pronounced “en-DOO-ya,” It originated in Spilinga, a small Calabrian town. Ten years ago, you had to “know a guy” in order to get your hands on it or smuggle some back with you from a trip to Italy. These days, you can find ‘nduja in specialty food shops, so you no longer need to break any laws or dine at a fancy restaurant to enjoy it. Look for it in markets that carry Italian charcuterie. The rich spiciness of this would work well with the 2021 Vine Hill Pinot Noir.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2-1/2 cups homemade or store bought marinara
1-1/2 cups chicken or other meat stock
6 ounces ‘nduja
12 ounces ziti or other short pasta broken into 2-inch pieces
2 ounces freshly grated pecorino cheese Kosher salt
In a deep saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook stirring until vegetables are softened but not brown, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add marinara and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Add ‘nduja and with a wooden spoon stir into sauce. Cook, stirring constantly until ‘nduja is fully emulsified and incorporated into the sauce, about 3 minutes.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Add to sauce tossing until it coats the pasta. Add pasta cooking water in 1/4 cup increments as needed. Remove from heat, add half the cheese and stir to incorporate. Season to taste with salt. Serve immediately passing remaining raining cheese at the table.