‘Nduja, pronounced [ˈnduːja] or n-doo-ea, is a spicy spreadable salami paste typically produced in the small Calabrian town of Spilinga. This region is famous for its extremely spicy cuisine: the ‘Nduja is not for the faint of heart, as it contains such a high amount of chili peppers that it hardly needs any other preservative.
The ‘Nduja was initially invented as a scrummy way to re-use those fatty cuts of pork meat that were otherwise not worth enough to be sold individually; in a way, the ‘Nduja has a similar origin to the one of Cotechino, a very fat cooked salami eaten over Christmas in the northern regions of Italy (Cotechino e Lenticchie – Traditional Slow-Cooked Pork Sausage with Lentils).
The Calabrian chili peppers give ‘Nduja a peculiar, deeply aromatic flavour that pairs extremely well with mild cheeses; ‘Nduja is often spread on toasted bread or cheese slices and presented as a starter or a light lunch. Try out this recipe for a quick Italian aperitif: Spicy Calabrian Bruschetta with ‘Nduja
It would be a pity to enjoy ‘Nduja only by itself, though – it is the perfect topping for a hot pizza and even the smallest amount adds the right hint of spiciness to fried eggs or baked beans.
We love to use ‘Nduja for pasta! To dial down the spiciness without missing out on the aromatic flavour of ‘Nduja, you can simply mix it with some fresh ricotta, as we suggest here: Ricotta & ‘Nduja Pasta Sauce for Calabrian Fileja.