This nduja pasta is the easiest weeknight meal at any time of the year. You can make it for one person, or you can make it for eight people. And it's so packed with flavor!
Never heard of nduja? Not to worry, it's pretty new for me as well. But now that I've discovered it, I'm totally obsessed. Nduja is kind of like a spicy sausage, but it's a spread. It's super good on any charcuterie board and also would spice up a pomodoro sauce beautifully.
Nduja pasta is a creamy delight with a spicy kick. Savor the perfect blend of rich heavy cream and flavorful nduja sausage.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Why You're Going to Love This Recipe
- What is Nduja Sausage?
- Why Does it Come without Casings?
- What Type of Pasta Goes with Nduja Sausage?
- How to Use Nduja Sausage in Pasta
- How to Make Nduja Sausage Pasta
- Pro Tips and Tricks
- Wine Pairings
- Rose Wine
- Storage and Reheating
- More Awesome Pasta to Try
Frequently Asked Questions
Nduja pasta is a delicious Italian dish made with Nduja sausage, a spicy spreadable sausage from Calabria. It is typically mixed with heavy cream to create a creamy and flavorful sauce for pasta.
Nduja sausage can be found at specialty Italian markets, gourmet food stores, or online retailers. It is often available in jars or wrapped in casings. Check with your local stores or explore online options for purchasing Nduja sausage.
Yes, if you prefer a lighter version, you can substitute heavy cream with alternatives like Greek yogurt, coconut milk, or a combination of milk and butter. The flavor and consistency may vary slightly, but it can still be delicious.
Yes, Nduja sausage is known for its spicy flavor. The level of spiciness can vary depending on the brand or the specific recipe used. If you're sensitive to spice, you can adjust the amount of Nduja sausage to control the heat.
Nduja sauce pairs well with various pasta shapes, such as penne, fusilli, rigatoni, or spaghetti. The sauce tends to cling to ridged or textured pasta, allowing for better sauce distribution and flavor in each bite.
Why You're Going to Love This Recipe
- Spicy and Creamy Delight: Nduja Pasta offers a tantalizing blend of spicy and creamy flavors, creating a delightful culinary experience.
- Easy and Quick: This recipe is simple to prepare and takes minimal time, making it perfect for busy individuals craving a satisfying meal.
- Flavorful Nduja Sausage: The star ingredient, Nduja sausage, infuses the dish with a burst of rich and bold flavor that adds depth to every bite.
- Versatile Pasta Pairing: Nduja sauce pairs well with a variety of pasta shapes, allowing you to choose your favorite or explore new combinations for a personalized touch.
- Restaurant-Quality at Home: Indulge in a restaurant-quality dish from the comfort of your own kitchen, impressing both yourself and your guests with this elevated pasta creation.
- Ideal for Spice Lovers: If you enjoy a kick of heat in your meals, the spiciness of Nduja sausage will satisfy your taste buds and add a thrilling element to the dish.
- Customizable: Feel free to customize the recipe by incorporating sautéed vegetables, grated Parmesan cheese, or other ingredients to suit your preferences and elevate the flavors even further.
What is Nduja Sausage?
Nduja sausage is a traditional Italian delicacy that originates from the region of Calabria, located in the southern part of Italy. It is a unique and fiery spreadable sausage known for its bold flavor and spicy kick.
The name "nduja" is derived from the French word "andouille," which means "sausage." It is believed that Nduja sausage has its roots in Spanish and French charcuterie techniques, which were introduced to Calabria during the 16th century. Over time, Calabrian artisans refined the recipe and created their own distinct version of the sausage.
The main ingredients of Nduja sausage include high-quality pork fat, lean cuts of pork, and an abundance of fiery red chili peppers, specifically the Calabrian variety known as "Calabrian chili." The sausage is seasoned with salt and various spices, which can include black pepper, fennel seeds, and garlic. The mixture is ground to a fine consistency and then stuffed into casings or preserved in jars.
Traditionally, Nduja sausage was made to preserve surplus meat and enhance its flavor. It was a popular food among the working class due to its affordability and ability to add a burst of flavor to simple dishes. However, in recent years, Nduja has gained widespread popularity both in Italy and internationally, admired for its unique taste and versatility.
Nduja sausage is renowned for its intense spiciness, which comes from the liberal use of Calabrian chili peppers. It is often enjoyed spread on bread, crackers, or incorporated into various dishes. In particular, Nduja has become a beloved ingredient in pasta sauces, where it adds a distinctive depth of flavor and a fiery kick.
Today, Nduja sausage is not only celebrated in Calabria but has also made its way onto menus in gourmet restaurants around the world, gaining recognition as a culinary delicacy. Its rich history, fiery flavor, and versatility have contributed to its growing popularity among food enthusiasts globally.
Why Does it Come without Casings?
So, Nduja sausage is all about that convenience. While traditional Nduja sausage is stuffed into casings, the spreadable nature of the sausage allows it to be easily preserved in jars as well. By putting it in a jar, you can easily scoop it out and spread it on anything your heart desires, like bread, pizza, or pasta, without any fuss. No need to deal with casings or slicing!
Storing it in a jar helps keep it fresh for longer, so you can enjoy that fiery flavor whenever you're in the mood. Plus, seeing that vibrant red color and smooth texture through the jar is like an Instagram-worthy food moment, giving you major bougie vibes!
So, whether you go for the jar or the casing, you'll still get to indulge in the spicy goodness of Nduja sausage.
What Type of Pasta Goes with Nduja Sausage?
Honestly, this dish would work with just about any pasta shape. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Penne: Penne is all about those ridges! They grab onto that creamy Nduja sauce and hold on tight, making every bite a flavor explosion.
- Fusilli: This pasta is a total showstopper, babe! With its spiraled shape, it's like a dance floor for the sauce, ensuring each twist and turn is coated in creamy deliciousness.
- Rigatoni: Get ready for a saucy party in your mouth! Rigatoni's wide tubes are like VIP lounges, allowing that Nduja sauce to slide in and take center stage with each mouthwatering bite.
- Spaghetti: It's time to bring on the classic. Spaghetti knows how to work it with the sauce. Those long strands soak up every bit of that luscious Nduja creaminess, giving you a pasta experience that's pure perfection.
- Farfalle: Farfalle is the diva of pasta shapes! Those cute bowties add a playful touch to the dish, and the sauce loves to nestle into every nook and cranny, making each bite a flavor sensation.
How to Use Nduja Sausage in Pasta
Nduja pasta is really versatile. Even in this recipe, you can totally adjust the amount of sausage so the spice level fits your tastebuds. Here are a few other ways to try it if you're feeling creative!
Sauce: Start by sautéing some Nduja sausage in olive oil until it melts and releases its spicy goodness. Then, add ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, onions, or herbs to create a flavorful sauce. Simmer it for a while to let the flavors mingle, and toss it with your cooked pasta for a mouthwatering dish.
Spicy topping: Crumble or finely chop Nduja sausage and sprinkle it as a spicy topping over your pasta. Whether it's a simple aglio e olio or a classic carbonara, the sausage will elevate the dish with its bold flavors.
Stuffing or filling: Stuff pasta shells or ravioli with a mixture of Nduja sausage, cheese, and herbs for a rich and spicy filling. Bake or simmer the stuffed pasta until cooked, and serve it with your favorite sauce or simply drizzle it with olive oil.
Pizza pasta hybrid: Want to get adventurous? Combine cooked pasta with your favorite pizza toppings, including Nduja sausage. Toss it all together, bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden, and enjoy the fusion of pasta and pizza flavors.
Pasta: Pasta takes center stage! It's the perfect foundation, providing that comforting and satisfying base for the dish.
Nduja sausage: This spicy and spreadable sausage brings the heat! It adds a fiery kick and a burst of bold flavor that takes your taste buds on a flavorful adventure.
Heavy cream: Get ready for some creamy dreaminess! Heavy cream adds a luxurious and velvety texture to the sauce, balancing out the spiciness of the Nduja sausage.
Parmesan cheese (optional): Say cheese! Parmesan cheese brings salty and nutty goodness to the mix. It adds richness and depth, elevating the overall taste of the dish.
Fresh herbs (optional): Let's freshen things up! Fresh herbs like parsley or basil add a pop of vibrant color and a subtle herbaceous note, enhancing the dish with a touch of freshness.
How to Make Nduja Sausage Pasta
Start by getting a pot of water boiling for your pasta. Add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water to enhance the pasta's flavor.
While the water is heating up, let's move on to the sauce. In a pan over medium heat, pour in the heavy cream—our luxurious ingredient that will create a creamy and velvety sauce.
Next, spoon in the spicy nduja sausage. As it melts down, it will infuse the cream with its fiery goodness, creating a flavor-packed base for our pasta dish.
Let the sauce gently simmer, allowing the flavors to meld together beautifully. Give it a stir every now and then to ensure it heats evenly and develops a rich and creamy consistency.
Now, it's time to cook the pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook it according to the package instructions until it reaches that perfect al dente texture. Remember to reserve a small amount of pasta water before draining.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it directly to the pan with the creamy nduja sauce. Gently toss the pasta in the sauce, ensuring that each strand gets coated in the spicy creaminess.
If desired, add a splash of the reserved pasta water to the pan. This starchy water helps to bind the sauce and pasta, creating a cohesive and flavorful dish.
Give it a final toss to ensure all the components are evenly distributed. Now, our nduja pasta is ready to be served and enjoyed!
Feel free to garnish with some grated Parmesan cheese for an extra touch of richness. And if you have fresh herbs on hand, like parsley or basil, you can sprinkle them over the top to add a pop of freshness.
Serve this indulgent and flavorful pasta hot, and get ready to savor the fiery and creamy combination that will surely delight your taste buds.
Spicy Tomato Delight: Incorporate tomato sauce into the creamy base for a delightful twist.
Succulent Prawn Medley: Add cooked prawns to the pasta for a flavorful surf-and-turf experience.
Creamy Burrata Indulgence: Elevate the dish with creamy burrata cheese for a luxurious touch.
Fiery Spaghetti Arrabbiata: Swap the pasta shape and embrace the fiery flavors of arrabbiata sauce with a spicy kick.
Seafood Fusion Sensation: Combine nduja with flaked tuna for a delectable seafood delight.
Mediterranean Olive Delight: Introduce sliced olives to the pasta for a Mediterranean-inspired burst of flavor.
Sharp Pecorino Spinach Twist: Sprinkle grated pecorino cheese and wilted spinach over the pasta for a tangy and green twist.
Anise-like Fennel Infusion: Sautéed fennel slices complement the spicy sausage with their subtle anise-like flavor.
Vodka Cream Dream: Add a splash of vodka to the sauce for a creamy and tangy sensation.
Creamy Mascarpone Euphoria: Enhance the creaminess with velvety mascarpone cheese for a delightful twist.
Zesty Lemon Surprise: Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the pasta to infuse it with a refreshing citrus zing.
Crunchy Bread Crumb Bliss: Sprinkle crispy toasted bread crumbs for a satisfying crunch in every bite.
Pro Tips and Tricks
- Adjust the spiciness: Nduja sausage can vary in spiciness. If you prefer a milder heat, start with a smaller amount and gradually add more to suit your taste. Remember, you can always add more, but it's challenging to reduce the spiciness once it's mixed into the sauce.
- Play with pasta shapes: While the recipe suggests using penne, feel free to experiment with different pasta shapes. Fusilli, rigatoni, or even spaghetti can work beautifully with the creamy nduja sauce, providing varied textures and visual appeal.
- Reserve pasta water: When draining the cooked pasta, remember to reserve a small amount of the starchy pasta water. It can be added to the sauce as needed to thin it out, help it cling to the pasta, and create a more cohesive dish.
- Customize with additional ingredients: Don't be afraid to add your favorite ingredients to the pasta. Sautéed mushrooms, roasted cherry tomatoes, or wilted greens like arugula or kale can add extra layers of flavor and texture.
- Balance the flavors: Taste the sauce before adding salt, as the nduja sausage and Parmesan cheese can be quite salty. Adjust the seasoning accordingly to achieve a well-balanced and delicious dish.
- Garnish for a finishing touch: Enhance the visual appeal and flavor profile by garnishing your nduja pasta with fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or chives. A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil or a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese can also elevate the dish.
- Experiment with wine pairings: Pairing the nduja pasta with a glass of wine can elevate the dining experience. Opt for a medium-bodied red wine, such as a Sangiovese or Barbera, to complement the spicy flavors. If you prefer white wine, a crisp and aromatic Vermentino or Sauvignon Blanc can be delightful (see below for more ideas!).
- Make it ahead: The sauce can be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. When ready to serve, reheat the sauce gently on the stove and cook the pasta fresh for optimal taste and texture.
- Double the batch: If you're hosting a gathering or want leftovers for later, consider doubling the recipe. Nduja pasta is just as delicious the next day, and the flavors may have even further developed and melded together.
- Get creative with leftovers: If you have any leftover nduja pasta, it can be repurposed into a delicious pasta bake. Simply transfer the pasta to a baking dish, sprinkle with cheese, and bake until golden and bubbly. It's a fantastic way to enjoy a new twist on the dish.
- Sangiovese: This Italian red wine pairs wonderfully with the spiciness of nduja. Its medium body, vibrant acidity, and red fruit flavors create a harmonious balance.
- Barbera: Another Italian varietal, Barbera, with its juicy acidity and notes of dark berries, cherries, and spices, complements the richness and spiciness of the dish.
- Grenache/Garnacha: This red wine, known for its fruity and peppery characteristics, can enhance the flavors of the nduja pasta, especially if you enjoy a touch of sweetness in your wine.
- Vermentino: A crisp and aromatic white wine with citrus notes and a touch of minerality, Vermentino adds a refreshing contrast to the spicy nduja flavors.
- Sauvignon Blanc: With its bright acidity and herbaceous and citrus flavors, Sauvignon Blanc offers a zesty and vibrant pairing option for the dish.
- Falanghina: This Italian white wine variety offers a lovely balance of citrus and tropical fruit flavors, complementing the spiciness of the nduja while maintaining a refreshing character.
- Dry Rosé: A dry rosé wine with its refreshing acidity, red fruit flavors, and floral notes can provide a delightful contrast to the spiciness of the dish while still offering a touch of fruitiness.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: If you have any leftover nduja pasta, store it properly to maintain its freshness and flavors. Follow these steps:
Transfer the cooled pasta to an airtight container. Glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids work well.
Refrigerate the pasta within two hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth.
Ensure the pasta is completely cooled before sealing the container to prevent condensation and moisture buildup.
Store the pasta in the refrigerator for up to three to four days.
Reheating on the Stove:
Heat a non-stick skillet or saucepan over medium heat.
Add the refrigerated nduja pasta to the pan and spread it out evenly.
Pour a splash of water or broth (such as chicken or vegetable) into the pan to help create steam and prevent the pasta from drying out.
Stir the pasta occasionally as it heats up, ensuring it heats evenly.
Continue cooking until the pasta is thoroughly heated and reaches your desired temperature.
Once heated, remove the pan from the heat and serve the deliciously reheated pasta.
Reheating in the Microwave:
Place the desired portion of refrigerated nduja pasta in a microwave-safe dish.
Cover the dish to prevent splattering and maintain moisture.
Microwave the pasta on medium power in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until it reaches the desired temperature.
Check for even heating and adjust the timing as needed.
Once heated thoroughly, remove the dish from the microwave and serve promptly.
Refreshing the Sauce:
If the sauce has thickened after refrigeration, you can refresh it by adding a splash of heavy cream or pasta water while reheating. This will help restore its creamy consistency.
Customize with Garnishes:
Before serving the reheated pasta, consider adding fresh herbs, grated Parmesan cheese, or a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil to freshen up the flavors and presentation.
More Awesome Pasta to Try
3-Ingredient Nduja Sausage Pasta
- 12 oz dried pasta
- ¼ C Nduja sausage
- 2 C heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- parmesan cheese optional, to taste
- fresh basil optional, for garnish
- Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the cooked pasta, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Prepare the sauce: In a large skillet or frying pan, combine the heavy cream and Nduja sausage. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring continuously until the Nduja has melted into the cream and the sauce is smooth and heated through.
- Combine the pasta and sauce: Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the Nduja cream sauce. Toss well to coat the pasta evenly with the sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little bit of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen it up and create a silky consistency.
- Season and serve: Season the Nduja pasta with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Give it a final toss to incorporate the seasoning. Serve hot, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves if desired.