Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Recipe corner: Pasta with ricotta and nduja

I have long wibbled on about the wonderful ingredient that is nduja and now it seems to becoming a lot more widely available and commonly used.  Why, even our local pizza place uses it as a topping.  If you have yet to experience it then I would describe it as being as a type of sausage, fiery with chillies and a very soft, paste (or pate) like texture. 

Our absolute favourite (again, I've banged on about this before) is from The Ham and Cheese Company who are London based but do mail order.  They're not particular cheap, and the delivery charges make one weep a little bit but they are very, very good.  Alternatively, M&S have started doing a very passable version, a jar of which I received in my Christmas stocking (Santa knows me very well).  I would say that the chilli heat is slightly harsher and the flavours slightly brasher than our favourite which is why this pasta dish, with the addition of ricotta to temper and soothe, was an ideal one to make with it.

It's the kind of supper that I adore - you can make the sauce while the pasta is cooking and have everything done and dusted within quarter of an hour, and yet it has a depth of flavour that belies such simplicity.  Highly recommended.


Tbsp rapeseed oil
Onion, chopped
80g nduja
100g ricotta cheese
30g Parmesan, finely grated
Tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
180g dried pasta
Grated Parmesan, to serve

Serves 2, generously

Set a pan of salted water over a high heat and, when it comes to the boil, tip in the pasta and cook for 8-10 mins according to instructions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and then sweat off the onion, covered, with a hefty pinch of salt, for 5 mins or so until soft and translucent.

Stir through the nduja, turn the heat down to low, and allow to putter quietly in the background. As it does so, combine the ricotta and Parmesan in a bowl along with the thyme and a hefty whack of seasoning. Then, add the cheese mix to the onion and nduja in the pan, stir well, and allow to reduce slightly.

Siphon off some of the salted water and then drain the cooked pasta. Stir through the sauce along with a generous slurp of cooking water so that the sauce clings elegantly to the pasta shapes.

Serve, sprinkled with a little further Parmesan.

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