Nduja sausage, pronounced ‘en-doo-ya’ is a spreadable, delightfully spicy sausage from Italy’s ‘toe of the boot’, the southern region of Calabria. It is easily characterized by its flaming red hue, obtained by one of its main ingredients, the region’s native Calabrian red chillies.
The first production of ‘nduja came about at the beginning of the 1800’s when Italian pig farmers, not wanting any food to go to waste, would use the less prized cuts of meat such as the intestines, lungs, and stomach to make this sausage. This lends itself to the theory that ‘nduja was named after the French ‘andouille’ sausage, also made with pork offal and introduced by Napoleon and his troops when they targeted Calabria in 1807. The Calabrian’s undoubtedly thought the sausage needed more of a kick, hence the addition of the fiery Calabrian chillies!
During the mid-20th century, Calabrian’s who had emigrated to Northern Italy, the Americas and beyond luckily began to introduce ‘nduja to the world, sparking the culinary phenomenon of today!
Nowadays, ‘Nduja is no longer made with off-cuts, instead, during the winter months, nduja is made from a complex recipe using lard, finely chopped pancetta and guanciale – a cured meat made from pork cheeks, dried & fresh herbs and of course, Calabrian red chillies. Incredibly, due to the antiseptic & antioxidant powers of the chillies, zero dyes or preservatives are needed in the sausage mixture.
After being fed into the casing, the ‘nduja is lightly smoked with aromatic herbs, in addition to with olive, oak or acacia wood, and is then left to naturally cure for three to six months.
What’s it used in?
Nduja sausage is extremely versatile for cooking, from spooning generous dollops as a pizza topping, spicing up a pasta dish or lavishly spreading the fiery sausage onto a piece of toast, 'nduja never fails to transform a dish with its meaty, umami flavours.
Want to try your hand at using ‘nduja in your cooking? Have a go making our 'Nduja Sausage & Burrata Tortelloni with a Sage Butter Sauce or our Tagliatelle with ‘Nduja Sausage, Lemon and Mascarpone.
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