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Penne with Calabrian 'nduja sausage & tomato



Recipe from Nino Zoccali's cookbook Pasta Artigiana

Serves 6

2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 thyme sprig, picked
200 g (7 oz) ‘nduja sausage, to be treated similarly to mince (ground) meat (See Note)
2½ tablespoons dry white wine
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) good quality tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
Fine sea salt, to taste
600 g (1 lb, 5 oz) good quality dried penne
Freshly grated pecorino cheese, to serve

Slowly heat the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan over low heat and add the onion, then the garlic and thyme. Slowly cook until they soften and become translucent. Add the ‘nduja sausage, breaking it up with the back of a spoon, and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes before deglazing with the white wine. Cook until almost all the wine has evaporated, then add the tomato passata. Season with the sea salt and slow cook for 1-2 hours. Set aside. Cook the pasta in abundant salted boiling water until al dente and drain. Combine with the sauce and add more salt if required. Serve with lots of freshly grated pecorino cheese.

Note: ‘Nduja is a ‘spreadable’ and usually very spicy Calabrian salami that is rapidly gaining popularity around the world. The precise methods of production and ingredients can vary significantly, but all versions are characterized by the inclusion of a lot of chilli and a very strong, albeit dried chili/capsicum (pepper) flavour. The drier, seasoned versions of this product will suit this recipe better, but any form of ‘nduja will work well.

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