Calabrian Nduja: Putting the Fire in Fiery

Had one sausage, had them all? I don’t think so.

Nduja, pronounced “ndooyia,” is a fiery Calabrian sausage that will take the skin off of your tongue, raise your internal body temperature and likely send smoke signals bursting from your ears.

Or as we say in Texas? It’s “slap ya mama hot.”

But man, is it good … (just *look* at that pepper up there!)

You can eat nduja with pasta, you can spread it on a panino, you can create a dipping sauce for bread – the options are endless.

More out of fear of eating an indescribable Calabrian specialty than fear of the flame I resisted nduja, in all of its spreadable sausage spiciness, for years.

Until I was tricked.

Last week, my husband asked if he could cook “something special” for dinner. And come on, what wife can resist that? Halfway through the prep I noticed an empty wrapper in the trash.

“Calabrian Nduja”

Ah! I was duped.

After thoroughly examining the sauce, and dabbing a bit of bread around the sides to test the waters, I accepted the challenge.

In the upcoming weeks I’ll be trying new nduja recipes (you know, assuming the hole that was scorched in my stomach last time heals) and I’ll post one here on My Bella Vita. I’m also sending one to my pal, Judith over here.

Have you ever had nduja? What did you think? What is your favorite way to enjoy this specialty.

15 Responses
  1. I am unnaturally obsessed with Nduja, and I usually eat the spreadable kind in a jar. I bought several jars of it when I was down in Calabria this summer, but I’ve found a local source recently so I’m a happy camper.

    I love to spread it on bread and have a nice burrata or buffalo mozzarella on the side to cool down the fires in between bites!
    You definitely need something to help cool you off between bites. I’m glad (and proud of Calabria) that you found nduja in Milano. Enjoy!

  2. We love Nduja too, the spreadable type and sometimes add a little to our pasta dishes like ‘Pasta e Fagioli’.
    Have you tried the Calabrian ‘Rosa di Mare’? Tiny fish in a fiery pepperoncino sauce?
    P was just telling me about something with little fish, I wonder if that is it. Good stuff this nduja!

  3. I’m not a fan of nduja, not because of the heat, I just think it has a funny taste. The first time I ate it, I thought maybe it had gone bad, but no, it’s tasted like that every other time, too. My husband loves it and whenever we go to Calabria we stock up on the spreadable kind.
    At least you tried it – more than once, I guess? I can see where there is a slightly different taste. I am no expert, remember? I just started eating it last week! LOL

  4. joanne at frutto della passione

    I have never been brave enough, but I do bring to Canada to my dad and uncles! I have heard that it is excellent, but I’m a wimp!
    Do it. Do it. Try at least a teeny bite, ok??

  5. Never tried it and only heard about it quite recently. I’ll keep an eye out for it. It comes in jars too…?
    It does. I actually see it more in jars than in these little packages P bought.

  6. Well, since I can’t even handle the *mild* salsa sometimes…I think I’ll pass on these 😉

    They look good though.
    Oh no, Robin! What will you eat when you come to Calabria?

  7. Carla

    Yummy…love nduja, especially spread on some toasted bread or even in pasta…some people might be put off by the ingredients list though…on the bottle I bought in Calabria (it written in English for some reason) the first thing listed was “fat pig” 🙂 I suppose they meant “pig fat” (lardo), but it was just really funny.
    I usually avoid reading labels for things like that. “Fat Pig” is super funny, though.

  8. I start sweating when I SEE a hot pepper, so I don’t think nduja would be my thing. I love the idea of spicy food, but actually eating it is not something I can do : (
    Oh no, Erin. This stuff definitely isn’t for you, then.

  9. Why do you write in english?? Aren’t you italian?

    Io sono di Spagna (I don’t know a lot of italian nor too much of english, but… you know)
    Hola! Sorry to disappoint, but io sono 100% Texana! My other half is Italian.

  10. We really don’t do nduja much around here even though we have lots of other spicy sausages/salamis. We actually have one in the fridge that was a gift from a friend, but it’s too hot even for P…which means I don’t have a shot. We much prefer the spreads with eggplant, mushrooms, etc., mixed in with sun-dried tomatoes like the Bomba from Soverato. YUM!
    I am so surprised P doesn’t eat nduja. It is much lighter to me in pasta (or at least I’m telling myself that!)

  11. My system doesn’t respond well to spicy foods, generally. (I blame my Jewish side – Jewish foods being unnaturally bland.) But I might be willing to try a teency bit…
    Yes, Jess. You should try a tiny bit and see how it goes. Just so you can report on it, ya know?

  12. I LOVE nduja. Since coming back to Sydney from Italy I have been trying to source out so many products like, proper imported mozarella di bufala and nduja. I have finally found it and tomorrow will be having a fantastic meal with all of the above….just how to enjoy the nduja is the question….with pasta or just with some bread. I am thinking the latter and to make an array of different crostini’s.

    Yea! Congratso n your stash! I agree with you on the crostini idea. I think your guests can taste the fire that is nduja a little better this way!

    .-= Trish´s last blog ..Brother Baba Budan =-.

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