If you enjoy this recipe, please VOTE FOR ME in the Nduja challenge on Facebook – voting open till Friday 19 August!
It's often been said that the world can be divided into two types of people – although just where the dividing line lies has been the subject of much heated debate! Some suggestions over the years have included:
- realists and fantasists;
- those who make things simple and those who make things complicated;
- those who achieve things and those who claim to have achieved things;
- optimists and pessimists;
- those who follow the rules and those who make the rules; and
- those who give and those who take.
Me? I think the world can neatly be divided into people who laugh at unintentionally rude sounding phrases and those who don't (but roll their eyes at people like me!). Call it a juvenile sense of humour, if you must, but I can find humour in the most unlikely situations. My computer geek friends talking about floppies and stiffies (or hardware and software); golfers and all their talk about balls and shafts; people ordering a stiff one in a bar; my friend Donald arriving at a barbecue at my place via the back garden gate on Saturday and telling us he came in via the back passage – you get the picture. Or the time when I was at Pizza Express with a bunch of girlfriends ordering pizza, and the unsuspecting waiter asked "would you like some soft, spicy Italian sausage on your pizza, madam?". As you can imagine, utter chaos erupted at our table shortly afterwards. So what do you suppose I said when I was asked if I would like some of this soft spicy Italian sausge to be delivered to my door, to be enjoyed alone, in the privacy of my own home?
Yes, yes, YES, oh YESSSSS! ;o) (and, as always, I'll have what she's having…!).
Nduja is a soft, spicy, spreadable Italian sausage considered one of the most famous typical foods from the southern region of Calabrian. Nduja originated in the small town of Spilinga and its surrounding areas, although it is now made throughout the mountainous Monte Poro region. The name nduja is a corruption of the French word andouille, a type of spicy sausage made with offal. Nduja is typically made with ground pork including the shoulder, belly and jowl as well as tripe, kneaded together with salt and Calabrian chili pepper, stuffed into natural animal casings. The sausage is then slightly smoked and allowed to rest and season for a number of months. But unlike salami, nduja is made to a very soft, spreadable consistancy, and the hot, smoky chilli flavour makes it unlike any other Italian cured sausage you may have tasted – closer to a soft chorizo than a salami.
Unearthed is a company started by three friends in 2008 to share with the world their favourite regional food finds and artisanal products. Today they offer a range of cheeses, sweets, meat, antipasti, patés and more – including the nduja which they very kindly sent me to try. I'm submitting this recipe to their nduja challenge where they have challenged four bloggers to come up with their best nduja recipes – voting for your favourite will open soon on the Unearthed Facebook page. The recipe, even if I say so myself, is quite outstanding. The nduja and the red wine together give it a rustic, robust flavour that is hard to resist, and the sweetness of the peppers offsets this nicely. Don't skip the fresh basil either – the peppery freshness really lifts the entire dish.
NDUJA, PEPPER AND BASIL RISOTTO (serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter)
90g Unearthed nduja sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 a red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 a yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
300g of risotto rice (Arborio or Carnarolli)
60g Parmesan cheese, grated
150ml red wine
2 tbsp olive oil
20g +20g butter
600ml vegetable stock
2 Tpsb fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
salt and black pepper
Melt 20g of the butter together with the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, peppers and half of the nduja (broken up into small pieces) and sauté until the onion is translucent and the nduja has released some of its red oil.
Add the rice and cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly stir so that each grain is well-coated with oil/butter. Add the red wine and keep stirring until the liquid has been absorbed almost completely.
Add the hot stock a ladleful at a time (probably about 150-200 ml per ladle). Keep stirring until each ladleful has been completely absorbed, but do not let the rice dry out and stick to the pot. Once each ladleful is absorbed, add the next until the stock has all been added. The rice should be soft but each grain should retain some bite in the centre, perfectly al dente, which should take about 20 minutes.
As soon as the rice is ready, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 20g of butter, the rest of the nduja (also broken up into small pieces), the grated Parmesan cheese and the basil. Taste and season with salt and black pepper as desired.
Garnish with a little more grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves and serve immediately.
If you liked this risotto, you may also want to try my:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please VOTE FOR ME in the Nduja challenge on Facebook – voting open till Friday 19 August!