'Nduja Strozzapreti

Nduja Strozzapreti using Barilla casarecce

This very versatile recipe is built around Calabria’s fiery, spreadable salami called ‘nduja (see FAQ below); it’s available from most delis and my favourite is from Salumi Australia. I’ve made this dish without the chicory (just eggs) and without the eggs (just chicory), but like it best with both. The name chicory is sometimes used for endive or witlof, but the kind I use here looks like long dandelion leaves, they are related and you could use dandelion or any other bitter greens instead. Strozzapreti literally means ‘strangle (or choke) the priest’. It’s a twisted pasta that has several different names, Barilla calls its casarecce; you can replace it with any short pasta. Don’t be too precise when slicing the green leaves from the thick white chicory stems, use it finely sliced, stems and all, if you prefer (though I like the stems cooked as a separate vegetable). Coriole’s soft sangiovese is a great accompaniment to ‘nduja strozzapreti, the perfect foil for the spicy salami. See the video below for another deliciously easy pasta recipe and scroll down to the Q&A here for all you need to know about cooking pasta perfectly.

Serves 6 as a starter

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for frying
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • Salt flakes, to taste
  • 500g casarecce or strozzapreti
  • 100g ‘nduja
  • 125g salted butter
  • 1 bunch chicory, green part only, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  1. Heat oil in a frying pan, add onion and a good pinch of salt and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, until starting to colour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add pasta.
  3. Add ‘nduja to the onion, stir to break up well and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add butter and chicory to the pan and stir for a minute or 2, until chicory wilts.
  5. Break in eggs, immediately remove pan from the heat, cover and set aside.
  6. Heat oil in a small saucepan, add breadcrumbs and fry until crisp and brown. Drain and set aside.
  7. When pasta is al dente, drain it, reserving some of the cooking water.
  8. Add pasta and ¼ cup of cooking water to the ‘nduja mixture, return to medium heat and toss well for a minute or so, until egg sets.
  9. Serve ‘nduja strozzapreti topped with fried breadcrumbs. 

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What is ‘nduja? What is 'nduja made of?

Pronounced en-DOO-ya, ‘nduja is a spreadable salami from the southern Italian region of Calabria. ‘Nduja is made from pork fat, pork meat, Calabrian chilies and salt.

Why is 'nduja spreadable?

It’s the amount of fat in ‘nduja, as well as how finely the meat is minced, that gives it its spreadable consistency. The high percentage of chilli in the paste also helps soften it.

Can ‘nduja be eaten raw?

‘Nduja is a fermented sausage and so it can be eaten raw, without cooking. It can also be used in cooking to add spice, colour and a rich umami flavour to many dishes.

How do Italians eat 'nduja?

Italian’s serve ‘nduja like any salami. It’s great as part of an antipasto (in a bowl, spread on crackers or bread or with raw vegetables for dipping), tossed through pasta sauces, as a pizza topping, or smeared on toasted bread. It’s a wonderful addition to a grilled cheese sandwich too!

What does 'nduja taste like?

‘Nduja is a spicy, meaty, savoury sausage paste. The spice level is quite high, so start with a little and add more to taste.

How do you serve ‘nduja?

If serving ‘nduja raw, allow it to come to room temperature first so the full flavour can be appreciated.

How did 'nduja get its name? What does the name 'nduja mean?

It’s believed ‘nduja was modelled on the French pork sausage andouille, made from pork fat and trimmings, and that the Italian name is a derivation of the French word.

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