Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Ricotta & ‘Nduja Pasta Sauce for Calabrian Fileja

Calabrian Fileja is a kind of pasta traditionally prepared in the Tropea area and mostly enjoyed with meat ragouts; to give Calabrian Fileja its peculiar shape, each piece of pasta dough is gently folded around a knitting iron and then either cooked right away or left to dry.

As for ‘nduja, this oddly-named Calabrian product is a sort of soft salami usually spread on a slice of fresh bread. The ‘nduja’s second main ingredient is the famous Calabrian chili pepper, but worry not: the ricotta mellows down the intense taste of the ‘nduja, making this pasta sauce ideal also for those of you that are not a fan of extremely spicy dishes.

You can read more about ‘nduja in this article: What Is ‘Nduja and Where Can You Buy It?

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins

  • Calabrian Pasta Fileja: 400 g
  • Ricotta: 250 g
  • ‘Nduja: 120 g
  • White onions: 1
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 3 tbsp
  • Pecorino, grated: to taste
  • Salt: to taste


Tip: To make it easier to crush the ‘nduja in smaller pieces, take it out of the fridge at least 1 hour before starting to cook.

Boil the Calabrian Fileja in a pot of salted water. Keep aside a ladle of the pasta’s cooking water.

Finely chop the onion; heat up the oil in a pan and stir-fry the onion on low heat until it softens. 

Use a spoon to scoop the ‘nduja out of its casing, then break it into smaller chunks by crushing it under the prongs of a fork.  Add the ‘nduja to the onion and sauté the ingredients together for about 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Mix the ricotta with the pecorino in a bowl and add the cooking water you set aside to make the cream smoother.

Add the ricotta cream to the onion and ‘nduja in the pan, along with the Calabrian Fileja. Stir thoroughly to evenly combine all the ingredients, then serve still warm.

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