This article is about Calabria.
‘Nduja (pronouned ‘in-doo-ya’) is an incredibly spicy salame from the Calabrian village of Spìlinga. It’s made from pork mixed together with a high proportion of Calabrian chile (peperoncino), which gives it a bright red colour and fiery taste. It’s very soft which makes it easily spreadable on bread, which is one of the most popular ways to eat it, a bit like spicy pâté.
The Spìlinga website says that it has its origins in the early19th century when the Viceroy of Naples, who was the brother-in-law of Napoleon, distributed some French andouille sausage to local patriots to ensure their loyalty. It went down so well that the people of Spìlinga started to make their own version using chile. There is an obvious link between the names ‘nduja and andouille.
Perhaps due to a new curiosity for the food of other regions, ‘nduja has recently become quite famous within the rest of Italy, and has started to make its appearance on the world stage. Last year a company that import Italian products into the UK told me it was becoming relatively popular there too.
Five ways to eat ‘nduja
- Spread on small slices of crusty bread to form crostini and served as an appetizer. You could even melt a slice of pecorino cheese over the top for extra umami. Alternatively, as in the picture, spread a bit of ricotta or burrata cheese on first.
- Used as the peperoncino in a plate of spaghetti aglio, olio, peperoncino (spaghetti with garlic, oil, and chile). It will melt into the hot oil ensuring that each strand of pasta will be coated with fiery flavour.
- As a pizza topping with a kick.
- Spread on the inside of one of the slices of bread in mozzarella in carrozza.
- Mixed into the filling for stuffed red peppers.
12 thoughts on “Quick guide to Italian ingredients: ‘Nduja”
Ah grazie Luca! I had some in the UK about a month ago and had never heard of it – delicious stuff – and as you say, it’s starting to appear in tapas-like places over there. And now in my local supermercato here I saw some on sale for the first time! You’re right on the trend bravo! Fx
. It is FABULOUS isn’t it? I always try and keep some in the fridge. I arrived in Tuscany about a year and a half ago and I heard it mentioned on a cooking programme two days ago.
Actually French Andouille is not at all spicy. Rather it is made of tripe and organ meat and tastes strongly of offal, otherwise very bland. On the other hand, Andouille from the US (Cajun) is very spicy. I will search out Nduja here in my markets in Umbria. It sounds great! Thanks for the post!
I tried andouille when I lived in France, however I had no idea that the cajun version was spicy? There is absolutely no spicy food in modern french cuisine but perhaps the cajun version is an older version, just as their version of French is considered old fashioned compared to that spoken in France today. Or perhaps the Calabrians just wanted something spicy. Who knows? Thanks for letting me know though and glad you liked the post. You should be able to find it in Umbria. I live just on the border of Tuscany and Umbria and you can find it here.
Yep, I am always looking for some spice in my life! I am not sure how the Cajun version got hot. I should research it. Except for pepperoncini Umbrian food is pretty tame too. I just make my ethnic food at home to make up for it.
Whereabouts do you live in Umbria? Where are you from originally? I am Italian but grew up in the UK and so love a nice Indian curry. The spicier the better!
I am in the upper Tiber valley. Specifically Umbertide. Originally from Virginia and last live in the States outside of Washington DC where you can find excellent food from any part of the world because of all the Embassy’s. Where do you live in Tuscany? I see your name is Italian. Are you from here?
I live in the Upper Tiber Valley 🙂 Caprese Michelangelo in fact. I’m Venetian but half English and spent my childhood there.
Gotta love peperoncino Calabrese! I’m pretty sure I’ve bought a ‘ndjuia paste in Italia. It was a little red jar of fire👹
Sounds about right! Yes, I love it too.
Your making my mouth water and now I Look for nudja in NYC Salumeria 😘
I’m sure you’ll be able to find it at Eataly in NYC if not Dean and DeLuca. Enjoy! So glad you’re enjoying my blogs.