January 4, 2024

Creamy Nduja Pasta

Creamy, spicy, and just a little bit funky. If you aren’t cooking with nudja you are missing out.

Mark my words, nduja will be THE ingredient of 2024, and this creamy nduja pasta is a great gateway recipe to get your feet wet. This creamy pasta dish comes together in under 20 minutes and celebrates the funky, spicy flavors of this Italian spreadable sausage. So, it is about time you find this Italian delicacy and start cooking with it.

spicy creamy nduja pasta

WHAT IS NDUJA?

Before we delve into what it is, let’s learn how to pronounce it. Repeat after me: en-doo-ya. Now that’s out of the way, Nduja is a spreadable Italian sausage originating from Southern Italy, specifically the region of Calabria. This bright red, fatty, soft salumi is spiced with fiery Calabrian chilies, giving it a delightful flavor with a great heat level. If I could try to pinpoint the exact flavor, I would say think of it as a really soft, spicy salami or even pepperoni, with just a slightly funkier flavor. While the easiest and number one way to enjoy this ingredient is to spread it on crusty bread, nduja has endless uses. Top a pizza, cook it with eggs, or in this case incorporate it into a pasta dish.

When eating nudja cooking is not required, however because of it’s fat content it simply melts into dishes. When cooking with it, a little goes a long way. In the case of this pasta dish we only use 3oz , which is plenty to get the spicy funky flavor across in this creamy sauce. Once opened store tightly wrapped in cling wrap in the fridge for 3 months.

WHERE TO BUY NDUJA

Alright you now know what Nduja is and what it tastes like. The big question is, where are you going to find it. While some other food blogs say it is an easy ingredient to find, it is not. I searched high and low for this spicy salumi and after countless upsets I finally found it, at my local Italian deli. While I know not everyone has an Italian deli with an extensive cured meats section below are a few other places to check out.

  • Italian Specialty Markets – This goes hand in hand with the Italian delis. Nduja would be located with the other salamis or cured meats. It is shelf-stable, so don’t be surprised if you see it sitting out at room temperature.
  • Supermarket – Oh, the good old regular supermarket, and by supermarket, I don’t mean your local Shoprite or Walmart. While I have never seen this at my local Whole Foods, I have seen it at Wegmans. It is always great to check, just in case. Like Calabrian chilies, this ingredient has become more popular over the last few years, so it is possible that more everyday supermarkets will start to carry it.
  • Online – When all has failed, try the internet. I pulled a few links for some promising options with limited ingredients (see note below). I will continue to add links as I come across them.

Nduja should only have four ingredients: pork, salt, Calabrian chilies, and lactic acid if you are purchasing this in the US. I would probably steer away from any nduja spread or nduja sauce that is pre-jarred and has more than these ingredients. The color could range from orange to deep red, and that all depends on how long it was cured.

eating a bowl of creamy nduja pasta

WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR CREAMY NDUJA PASTA

  • Nduja – See above.
  • Pasta – Players choice here, but any long pasta such as the Mafaldine that is photographed works very well. Another important ingredient which I won’t list on another line is pasta water.
  • White Wine – Best rule of thumb, use a wine you would drink. For this recipe you need a dry white wine. My recommendation and go-to is Sauvignon Blanc, but if you like Pinot Grigio more go with that.
  • Heavy Cream
  • Garlic – Fresh only!
  • Parmesan Cheese – Freshly grated only!
  • Butter

HOW TO MAKE CREAMY NDUJA PASTA

While this is an easy recipe, it will require a little intuition. Pasta water is your friend here, and at times you may need to add more than what is required in the recipe. If at any point after the heavy cream is added the sauce looking a bit thick or just not enough to support the pasta it is probably because the sauce over reduced. The best solve for that is to add more pasta water. I don’t want to hear in the comments that this cream sauce wasn’t creamy enough, add more pasta water.

Prepare the Pasta – You need the pasta water pretty early on, so even before you start cooking the nduja, start boiling the heavily salted water. Depending on the cook time, you should be dropping the pasta in right as you turn on the burner to make the sauce. Cook the pasta as per packaging and reserve 1 1/2 cups of water; yes, it is a lot. The recipe calls for 1 cup to be added, and the additional 1/2 cup is just in case. Like just in case you over-reduced the pasta water or even the heavy cream. This sauce should be saucy, and pasta water is the best way to loosen the sauce before putting in the pasta.

Melt the Nduja – In a pan over low heat, add the butter. Once melted, grate the garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. We aren’t looking to brown the garlic, so watch the heat here. Add in the Nduja and break it up with the back of the spoon; this should be very easy unless it is coming from the fridge. Cook for 1-2 minutes until it has melted into the butter. There will be little pieces; that is normal, as there is meat in it, after all.

HOW TO MAKE CONT..

Create the Sauce – Deglaze the pan with the wine and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the pasta water and simmer for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Look for a simmer, not a rolling boil. The pasta water should thicken a bit and reduce by a little less than half. Add the heavy cream and simmer for 2-3 minutes, mixing vigorously to incorporate the fat into the sauce. Don’t be alarmed if the fat doesn’t incorporate at first. You know the sauce is done when there aren’t pools of fat and the sauce can coat the back of the spoon. If by any chance it is a little too thick or it over-reduced while trying to incorporate, add more pasta water to thin it out. Turn off the heat and add the Parmesan cheese. Add the pasta another tbsp of butter, toss to coat and serve.

creamy nduja pasta in a bowl

STORING/REHEATING

This creamy nudja pasta is best eaten fresh. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. The best method of reheating pasta is to place it back in the pan with some excess pasta water to add back moisture. Heat on low, until warm throughout.

Want more pasta? Check out the below creamy pasta recipes.

Miso Chipotle Pasta
Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Creamy Caramelized Shallot Pasta
Lemon Caper Pasta

January 4, 2024

Creamy Nduja Pasta

Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Creamy, spicy, and a little funky, this nduja pasta comes together in under 20 minutes.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Cream Sauce, Creamy Pasta, Nduja, Spicy
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb pasta save 1 1/2 cups of salty pasta water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 oz nduja
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese loose 1/2 cup

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta as per packaging in salty water. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of pasta water, and place pasta on the side.
  • In a pan over low heat, add 2 tbsp butter. Once melted, grate the garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the nduja, breaking it up with the back of a spoon. Cook the nduja until it has all but "melted" 2-3 minutes (there will still be little chunks), this will take longer if the nduja just came out of the fridge.
  • Deglaze the pan with the wine and simmer for 3-4 minutes. The wine will have reduced by half.
  • Add 1 cup of pasta water and simmer for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. The pasta water should thicken a bit and reduce by a little less than half.
  • Add the heavy cream and simmer for 2-3 minutes, mixing vigorously to incorporate the fat into the sauce. Don't be alarmed if the fat doesn't incorporate at first. If the sauce over reduces add more pasta water.
  • Turn off the heat and add the Parmesan cheese, and mix to combine. Add the pasta and another tbsp of butter, toss to coat and serve.

RATE + REVIEW What did you think of this recipe?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating