Do you know about ‘nduja? If not, keep reading because this special Italian spread has become very popular and with good reason – it makes so many dishes even better. ‘Nduja (pronounced “en-DOO-ya”) originates out of Calabria, that region in Italy where all things spicy are loved. It is a sort of spreadable paste made out of pork, Calabrian peppers and various spices. You can spread it on bread or add it to sauces. It adds not only a spicy kick but a terrific layer of flavor that is absolutely delicious. Once you have it in your fridge, you’ll be adding it to all kinds of things. We made homemade pizza recently and I made myself a pizza of thinly sliced zucchini, red onion, grated pecorino and then put little dollops of ‘nduja on top. It was terrific. My favorite thing is to add it into this pasta sauce recipe. We love it.
There are several producers now of this spicy spread. Whole Foods carries a version by La Quercia that contains prosciutto. It’s terrific. I always have this in my fridge. Whole Foods stocks this in the cheese department. You can also order a version being made in Chicago from ‘Nduja Artisans.
In this recipe, I’m combining my love of ‘nduja with some wilted kale, tomato paste and crunchy toasted breadcrumbs. The dish is delicious and easy to make. I hope you give it a try. At least get some ‘nduja and stick it in your fridge – you’ll be adding it to things in no time.
Learn how to make this homemade pasta shape called Garganelli here
Pasta with ‘Nduja, Kale and Toasted Breadcrumbs
for a printable recipe, click here
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red hot chili flakes (optional if you want extra spice)
1 cup packed chopped fresh kale
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup fresh bread crumbs
3 ounces ‘Nduja (spicy prosciutto spread)
3 heaping Tablespoons tomato paste
12 ounces pasta (any shape you like)
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large skillet over medium low heat, heat 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil and add the red onion and fry gently for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and fry a minute more. Raise the heat a little and add the kale and chicken stock and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has evaporated (about 6 – 8 minutes or so).
While the kale is simmering, in a separate small skillet, fry the breadcrumbs in 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil until crispy and golden brown, about 5 – 6 minutes. Add a large pinch of sea salt and blend. Set aside.
In the large skillet, add the ‘nduja and tomato paste to the kale mixture and cook until the ‘nduja dissolves, stirring frequently. Lower heat and keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta just short of al dente. Remove pasta with a handled strainer and place in the large skillet with the sauce, allowing some pasta water in the skillet. Turn off heat. Add the bread crumbs and half the cheese and toss well until pasta is coated. Taste and add a little salt if needed. Add a little more pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Place in a large serving dish. Serve with the remainder of the cheese.