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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.

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    Serves 4

    Total Time

    Prep Time

    Difficulty Level


    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


    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

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