Chef Dario Cavaliere writes a weekly food column for the Waterford News & Star
THIS spicy sausage is called N’duja and is from Calabria in Southern Italy. It can come either in a sausage form or in a paste form in a jar. Either one will work in this recipe, but be aware that a little goes a long way as it is very spicy. The sausage is made from pork and Calabrian chilli peppers that are minced together with spices. The result is a spreadable salami and it tastes great. It can be used in sauces, on pizza or spread on hot toasted sourdough. This pasta sauce has a real kick from the n’duja and tastes delicious when all the flavours come together.
50g spicy n’duja sausage
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 fresh red chilli
½ tsp. dried chilli flakes
1 red pepper, cored and diced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Start by cooking your spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water. I like to cook my pasta at least 3 minutes less than the pack suggests so that it is al dente, but leave for the suggested time if you prefer your pasta cooked through.
When cooked, remove a cup of the cooking water and set aside. Drain into a colander and rinse the pasta under a cold tap. Set aside until needed.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a heavy based pan. Add the n’duja sausage and chopped red pepper and cook until browned. The sausage meat will break down and resemble fine mince, which is normal. Turn down the heat and add the chilli, both the dried and fresh, and finally the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds before adding the can of chopped tomatoes. Stir well and season with plenty of black pepper and some salt.
Cook the sauce for 30 minutes on a low heat until all the flavours have combined and the sauce has thickened. Add back the pasta to the pan along with the reserved cooking water and mix well.
Make sure that the pasta has heated through and give it a really good stir so that the flavours are well distributed through the spaghetti.
Serve in warmed bowls with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and torn basil leaves.