Meatballs with Nduja Spicy Salami recipe
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Here are a simple recipe with this traditional Nduja treat from Calabria for you to try at home. It will bring a taste of southern italy to your kitchen that you'll love!
Essex, England, UK
2 people made this
- 500g of minced meat
- 150g Nduja
- 70g Pecorino
- 30g Parmigiano Reggiano
- 50g green olives
- 50g stale bread
- 2 shallots
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 2 organic free range eggs
- 400g San Marzano peeled tomatoes
- 200g breadcrumbs
- Organic extra virgin olive oil
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan together with the shallots previously peeled and cut into slices, ground pepper and a pinch of salt, sauté for 2 minutes and then add the peeled tomato (which you have broken up with a fork) and ladle of water to stretch the sauce, cook at a medium low flame with the lid for 15/20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, put the minced meat, the Nduja and a pinch of salt mix with your hands for a few minutes.
- Add the grated Pecorino and Parmesan, the two egg yolks, chopped olives, half of the breadcrumbs and peeled and finely chopped garlic. Mix with your hands until it is a smooth paste. Form round classic meatballs then coat them in breadcrumbs.
- Pour 5 tablespoons of oil in a pan and when hot, lay the meatballs and fry for 3-4 minutes then transfer them into the pan with the tomato sauce, mix them with the sauce and cook for about 10/15 minutes with the lid on.
See it on my blog
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- 600 g of aubergines
- 100 g of breadcrumb + to taste for breading
- 1 egg
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 clove of garlic
- EVO oil
Wash and dry the aubergines, remove the petiole and put them in a baking pan lined with baking paper, then cook them in a preheated oven at 200° for one hour. Let them cool down, remove the peel and cut them into pieces. Transfer the pulp to a fine-meshed strainer and press it to remove excess water. Then collect it in a bowl with the egg, breadcrumb, chopped garlic and parsley.
Add salt and pepper, season with nutmeg and mix the ingredients until the mixture is well homogeneous, then form with your hands many small balls. Place the meatballs on a plate with the breadcrumb and roll them so that they cover evenly.
Transfer them to a baking tray lined with baking paper, sprinkle with oil and bake in the already hot oven at 180° for about 40 minutes. Serve the eggplant meatballs hot or warm, enjoy your meal!
What Is 'Nduja?
'Nduja is a soft, spreadable fermented pork salume, spiked with fiery Calabrian chilies. It originated in Spilinga, a Calabrian municipality with a population in the low thousands. The name 'nduja might seem similar to the French andouille, and that’s likely because of the influence of the Angevins, who ruled over Calabria in the 13th century—though there are plenty of other theories about where it got its name. The sausage itself also bears many similarities to Spanish sobrasada, with possible influence coming from the Aragonese, who later controlled the region as well.
While its full origin story remains a bit of a mystery, we do know that ‘nudja was born out of poverty and necessity—a cured pork product for those with limited resources. Poor farmers who raised and butchered pigs would sell the most expensive prime cuts of pork to royal and upper-class families who could afford them. What the farmers were left with was a mixture of offal, excess fat, and meat trim left over from the butchering process. On their own, these scraps (known in other parts of Italy as the "quinto quarto," or "fifth quarter," in reference to the four primal cuts on an animal) weren't a delicacy on their own, but they could be transformed into something delicious (and resistant to spoilage) when blended together, seasoned assertively, stuffed into a casing, and cured for a long period of time.
In those days, in addition to fatty cuts of pork from the belly and back, 'nduja also contained organ meat such as lungs, which would otherwise have gone to waste. Though modern 'nduja-makers might include other ingredients, at its simplest 'nduja contains little more than ground pork, salt, and a mouth-numbingly spicy dose of Calabrian chilies, which gives the salume its signature red glow.
Pasta With Spicy 'Nduja-Tomato Sauce Recipe
Why It Works
- Jarred tomato passata makes for the easiest homemade tomato sauce in record time.
- Every ingredient in this recipe has an extended, pantry-friendly shelf life, making this the perfect pasta for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
- The soft spreadable texture and high fat content of 'nduja allows it to easily emulsify and meld into the mixture, for a meat sauce with no meat-cookery required.
- Finishing cooking the pasta in the sauce ensures that the noodles are well-coated and al dente.
The best weeknight pasta recipes are ones that call for just a handful of pantry ingredients, involve very little prep work, but still come with a big flavor payoff. This recipe more than fits the bill. It's essentially a tomato-based meat sauce, but there's no raw ground meat to brown or cured pork to slowly render over low heat. Instead, this sugo gets its meaty richness from one of our favorite salumi: 'nduja.
Nduja's high fat content, which gives it a soft, spreadable texture, also allows it to easily emulsify and meld into a quick tomato sauce made with just a couple of shallots (perfect for those of us who don't love ending up with a fridge full of forgotten half-onions), and a bottle of tomato passata, an Italian pantry favorite of puréed but not cooked-down tomatoes, which is used as a cheat code for quick sauces.
Paired with al dente ziti, broken-up candele, or any short tubular pasta (check out our new pasta shape glossary for inspiration), and grated Pecorino Romano, this 30-minute dinner hits all the flavor sweet spots—salty, savory, and funky from the 'nduja and cheese, with sweet acidity from the tomatoes. It's Sunday gravy on a Wednesday.
Spicy meatballs with adjika and yogurt
Adjika, literally ‘red salt’, is a spicy and fragrant pepper paste from Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. You’ll find it completely addictive and you’ll be using it as a condiment for everything, as they do in Abkhazia. It will keep in the fridge for a few days.
- 4 red chillies, deseeded
- 4 tomatoes, deseeded
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ½ celery stick, roughly chopped
- 15 g coriander leaves
- 15 g basil leaves
- 15 g dill fronds
- 2 tbsp walnut oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 slice white bread, crusts removed
- 6 tbsp milk
- 250 g minced pork
- 250 g minced beef
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp barberries
- 1 tbsp ground sumac
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp sea salt olive oil, for frying
- Greek yogurt, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
For the adjika, put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse blend to a chunky paste. The flavour will become more rounded and mellow if you make the paste in advance and leave to sit for a while.
For the meatballs, soak the bread in the milk for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients into a large bowl and use your hands to combine everything thoroughly. Mash together the bread and milk to make a paste, then mix this into the meatball mixture. Roll into meatballs I like them golf-ball sized.
Heat a slick of oil in a frying pan and cook the meatballs in batches. Start at a high heat to brown the outside, then lower the temperature until the meat is cooked through.
Serve with the adjika and a generous dollop of yogurt.
Recipe and image from Samarkand by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford (Kyle Books, hbk, $49.99). Read more about the food of this historic city here.
‘Nduja Breakfast Sandwiches
Before we get into the recipe, I want to just quickly go over what ‘nduja is. I’m getting this out of the way before you scroll down to the next photos and get turned off by the consistency. ‘Nduja is a spicy, spreadable pork from Italy and it is incredibly delicious! If you like salami, Italian sausage, any kind of cured meat, pâté or are just a human who eats meat, you’re going to love it. So here’s the super easy recipe for my new favorite way to consume ‘nduja: Breakfast Sandwiches!
As you can see by the photos above, it’s literally spreadable meat. Meat paste, if you will. This makes it perfect for these breakfast sandwiches because it sticks to the bread really well so you’ll get some ‘nduja in each bite! You know how when you’re eating a breakfast sandwich and you take a bite, the whole piece of bacon comes out? Yeah, that won’t happen with this stuff.
Then there’s the egg. You can’t have a breakfast sandwich without an egg, amiright? I chose to do a fried egg but you can do scrambled if you want! I’ve done over easy, over medium and somewhere in between (shown in photos) and they always turn out delish, no matter what you choose! I have to say, if I had to choose one way to make the eggs, I’d probably choose over easy because then you get that oh-so-yummy drippy yolk.
For the bread, a warm, toasty ciabatta roll is the way to go. Period. I chose a grain mustard this time but Dijon works really well too! And, of course, arugula. I just love how well arugula goes with eggs so naturally, it was my first choice for this recipe.
The only actual work you’re going to have to do (if you can call it work) for these sandwiches is toast some bread and fry some eggs. I wasn’t lying when I said they were super easy!
If you make these tasty breakfast sammies, snap a photo and tag #CarolynsCooking on Instagram so I can see! I hope you love them!
- 4 Ciabatta rolls
- 4 Eggs, fried
- 8 Slices fresh mozzarella
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Toast the ciabatta rolls.
- Fry the eggs in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Swipe the 'Nduja on the bottom half of each roll and mustard on the top. Layer the fresh mozzarella on top of the 'nduja, then the egg, then the arugula and top with the other half of the roll.
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I’m Carolyn Mazzocco. I like my steak bloody, my eggs runny and I was born with no sweet tooth.
Read more about me
Browse our choice of traditional recipes from the region of Calabria and remember they may be spicy. For our Calabria region homepage use this link.
Cuzzupe di Pasqua recipe
Cuzzupe, cuculi or cudduraci are a type of ciambelle traditionally made for Easter in Calabria.
An egg traditionally decorated the top of the cuzzupe but now it seems sweeter tastes have taken over.
Maccheroni pasta with Nduja and Bacon
This pasta recipe is only for people who enjoy spicy food and chilli peppers. In fact, the pasta sauce is made with tomatoes and the calabrese 'nduja salami.
It is a winter dish, very savory. rustic and perfect for a quick lunch accompanied with good Cirò red wine.
Pasta and beans
A simple and heart warming dish for the colder months, wherever you are. The recipe below is a revision of a very traditional recipe, a classic of the 'cucina povera', bringing it inline with contemporary tastes. Do seek out only the best best ingredients in season.
This actual recipe is by Chef Barbato and it was suggested to us by Extra Virgin Olive Oil Terra dei Giganti from Calabria. Barbato is inspiring, through his popular YouTube Channel, how all of us can recuperate the real flavours of traditional Italian cuisine .
Deep-dish meatball marinara pizza
Gently heat the milk in a small saucepan until steaming, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Combine the flour, salt, yeast and caster sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour in 4 tbsp olive oil and 250ml of the warm milk. Stir to combine, adding the rest of the milk if the dough feels dry. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 mins, then put in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave to rise for 1 hr 30 mins-2 hrs until doubled in size.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over a low heat and fry the onion with a large pinch of salt for 12-15 mins, or until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for 1 min more. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato purée, oregano and sugar. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15-20 mins, or until the sauce has thickened. Season. If you prefer a smooth sauce, blitz with a hand blender.
Lightly oil a roughly 33 x 23cm baking tray. Roll the risen dough out slightly with a rolling pin, then stretch it over the tray and into the corners, pushing it up the edges to make a lipped crust. Spread over the tomato sauce and top with most of the mozzarella. Cover and leave to rest for 30 mins.
Heat the oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 8 with a baking sheet inside to heat up – it should be large enough to hold the pizza tray. Combine the pork, breadcrumbs, egg yolk, fennel seeds and some seasoning in a large bowl. Mix everything with your hands for about 5 mins until well combined, then roll the mixture into 12 balls. Heat the remaining oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, and fry the meatballs for 5 mins until evenly browned. Set aside.
Brush the crust of the pizza with a little oil, then sprinkle over the polenta. Top the pizza with the meatballs, pressing them into the sauce and cheese a little, then scatter over the remaining mozzarella. Immediately slide the pizza tray onto the hot baking sheet and bake for 15-18 mins, or until the pizza is cooked through in the middle and crisp around the edges. Scatter over the parmesan and oregano, then slice into six squares to serve.
You can adapt the toppings according to what you have or prefer. Salami or pepperoni work really well, as does vegetable antipasti. For a grown-up version, try nduja instead – a spicy Italian sausage.
How is 'Nduja produced?
According to the Calabrian tradition, ‘nduja is usually produced during winter with the fattest parts of pork, such as pork cheek, bacon and lard. They are minced and then kneaded together with an abundant quantity of Calabrian chili pepper, which grants the meat a well-defined red color as well as a long preservation. Thanks to the antiseptic properties of chili pepper, 'nduja does not need any preservatives and it can be considered as a 100% natural and genuine product. Many of the nourishing and beneficial properties of 'nduja are tied to the use of chili pepper, which can become a valuable ally of the digestive and circulatory system.
Once the dough has a sufficiently homogeneous and creamy consistency, it is stuffed into the pig's natural casing and then subjected to a light smoking with aromatic herbs. Finally, it is left to cure in a completely natural way for at least three months, up to a maximum of six. ‘Nduja is then put on the market as a classic vacuum-packed sausage or in practical glass jars, which maintain its flavor and taste unaltered, even for long periods. To enjoy it at its best, however, we advise you to let it rest outside the vacuum pack for a few hours.
HOW TO STORE
‘Ndjua can be kept outside the fridge for a week or two as its many spices act as a natural preservative. If you prefer to keep it in the fridge, be sure to keep it wrapped in its casing. Let it come to room temperature so it becomes easily spreadable. Use a spoon to scoop out the spread, leaving the skin untouched. Wrap the exposed meat with its excess casing and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
NOTE: Refrigerated ‘nduja will start to dry and harden from extended exposure to oxygen, but it’s still edible.