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What is all the talk about ‘Nduja?

[ blog ]

What is all the talk about ‘Nduja?


In the last month I've read many articles about 'nduja.  I am happy to see that people are finally discovering it. 'Nduja is a fiery, spreadable sausage of smoked pork that is unique to Calabria. The most famous is 'Nduja di Spilinga, which gets it name from the town in Vibo Valentia that has the largest production of this delicacy. It is now also produced by salumifici (salumi factories) in other areas of Calabria, but the people of Spilinga and all around the Monte Poro area will argue that their 'nduja is special. Why? Because the ingredients include the sweet and hot peppers grown only in the area.

'Nduja is prepared with the parts of the pig that will produce 40 to 50% fat.  The meat is ground very fine and then all that is added is salt, ground sweet pepper and ground hot pepper.  It is well mixed and stuffed inside a natural hog casing of the large intestine.  It is smoked for about a week and then dried for three weeks or longer, depending on the size of the casing.

This is what 'nduja from Calabria looks like:

It is one the most famous foods Calabria has to offer and can't be purchased as yet in this country.

Boccalone has started selling its own 'nduja as of last month. It is different from 'nduja from Calabria. It resembles the French rillette, with the texture of a pâté, and has a lot more ingredients, like orange peel, wine, sugar, and vinegar. In contrast, Calabrian 'nduja has only pork, sweet pepper, hot pepper, and salt.  Simple but heavenly! Also, the Calabrian 'nduja is coarser in texture, more intense in pepper flavor, and tastes much smokier.

So how do you eat it? I enjoy it just spread on bread or on a plate of fusilli (homemade pasta shaped around a knitting needle).  'Nduja is wonderful on top of pizza, added to beans and soups, or inside a pitta (the stuffedCalabrian pizza).

Here is a plate of homemade filei, as fusilli are called in the Monte Poro area, tossed with 'nduja and tomato sauce. I got to eat it last month right in the town of Spilinga:

If you want to try Calabrian 'nduja in America you can come to my cooking class in September, when we will toss it with homemade pasta. You can also join me this fall in my culinary tour to Calabria; we will use 'nduja in one of the cooking class held right in the area whereitis made.