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A guide to nduja: an authentically Italian recipe

A guide to nduja: an authentically Italian recipe

Emily Shaw

 

From a quick dash to the nearest trattoria to a long summer evening spent eating and drinking with friends, Italian culture is at the heart of everything we make at Scarpetta. 

Every dish is handmade using fresh Italian ingredients. And one ingredient that our customers love is nduja; a fiery Calabrian meat that helps to create a delicious pasta sauce.

Scarpetta Pasta - Nduja Mascarpone Dish - Italian Meal KitsThe origin story of nduja

Like most Italian ingredients, nduja has a rich history. 

The spreadable cured meat is made from ground pork and pork fat, combined with pepperoncini to give it that signature fiery kick. It’s used in Italian family recipes every day, and is exported around the world. Its popularity comes down to those unrivalled flavours which blend seamlessly into so many recipes.

It originated in Spilinga, a village in southern Calabria. Its name was likely inspired by the French andouille - which is a pork tripe. This is probably due to the influence of the French Angevins who ruled over Calabria in the 1200s. 

The Spanish Aragonese also ruled over the Calabrian region for some time, and many believe that nduja was inspired by the sobrasada - a raw, cured sausage from the Balearic Islands.

Either way - everyone agrees that the nduja is of Calabrian origin, regardless of who influenced it. 

How is nduja made?

Nduja exists due to poverty. People needed food and resources were limited. Poorer farmers would sell expensive cuts of pork to richer families, and even royalty. The less prime cuts, such as offal and trims, were combined and cured. This was then smoked, to lessen the chances of spoilage. 

The cuts used are also a little different now. The finest quality nduja, like we source for Scarpetta, is made using more refined cuts, such as the jowl and belly.

It’s also infused with Calabria’s famous chillis, plus a generous helping of salt. Traditionally, the best chillies always comprise around 30% of the total weight of the finished product.

Nowadays, nduja is still smoked. But this isn’t for hygiene reasons due to vastly improved processes around food production. It’s smoked for anywhere between three and six months to help draw out those deep, smokey flavours that work perfectly in a pasta sauce. 

Scarpetta’s nduja

At Scarpetta, we source our nduja from Calabria itself, from artisan specialists who have been crafting it for centuries. 

They use local chillies and fine cuts of meat that combine to produce nduja that’s impossible to recreate in London.

Nduja and Italian pasta

Nduja pasta dishes headline plenty of menus in Italy. The depth and richness of flavour is infinitely popular with Italians. At Scarpetta, we’ve had nduja on the menu from the start. As Italian natives, we wouldn’t have it any other way. And neither would our customers. 

You can now order Scarpetta dishes to cook at home in just 5 minutes. Each meal kit is delivered to your door with fresh pasta, sauce and garnish to give it that restaurant-quality taste. 

Shop our nduja boxes now, choose from the Tortelloni Nduja Mascarpone - combining soft cheese with smoky spices - and the Nduja and Tuscan Sausage Mezze Maniche - an original Scarpetta recipe.

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