Nduja Mascarpone and Lemon Pasta

I’m always on the lookout for new pasta recipes. Recently someone on Instagram posted a photo from Padella of a pasta dish with nduja (apologies, I can’t remember who posted it). Well, I became obsessed and started researching recipes. I love nduja and the idea of pairing it with rich mascarpone with sharp lemon cutting through the fattiness of it all sounded fab. And I am pleased to say, it tastes pretty fab too.

If you have never heard of nduja, it is a spicy Calabrian sausage spread. And it is very spicy so a little goes a long way. I love it with pasta, on toast or dotted on top of pizza. It is not available everywhere but it is online, good Italian delis should have it and I get it in the Olive Stall in the English Market in Cork. If you cannot get it, chorizo will work well with a little extra chilli added to it.

This is a very simple dish and so quick to make, the sauce cooks in the same time that the pasta takes to cook. Ideal for a delicious mid week meal.

Useful tips & links:

  • Err on the side of caution if you are nervous of spice. I used 50g here, it was spicy and perfect for me but way too hot for himself. Start with 30g and work up from there. It melts right into the pan so it might not seem like much but it packs a punch.
  • A wide pasta works well for this, you just want it lightly coated in the sauce. I use tagliatelle but the Padella dish uses fettuccine. Don’t stress about it, any pasta you have already will be fine.
  • If you want more of a lemon kick, add the zest of the lemon in with the tomato puree.
  • I don’t add salt to the sauce as there is so much flavour from the nduja and I top it with quite a lot of salty parmesan. Taste as you go to see if your sauce needs salt.
  • For more info on nduja have a look at Lilly Higgins’ recipe here on the Irish Times.
  • You can use nduja instead of chorizo in this recipe for Chorizo and Mushroom Pasta. It would also be fab in this Eggs in Purgatory.
  • For more inspiration have a look at Katia’s Nduja Miso and Parsnip Soup or this Spicy Mussels with Tomato Chickpeas and Nduja on Gastrogays.

Nduja Mascarpone and Lemon Pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 350g of tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta
  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • 30 – 50g of nduja sausage spread (see tips)
  • 1 teaspoon of tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh basil or parsley
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan

Method:

  • Put a large pan of water on to boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
  • In a wide pan heat the oil over a medium heat. Remove the skin from the nduja and crumble it into the pan. The sausage will break down and melt into the oil.
  • Once cooked add the tomato puree into the sausage and cook for a further couple of minutes.
  • Add the mascarpone along with a few tablespoons of the pasta water to help emulsify it into a sauce. Gently stir and cook the sauce over a low heat.
  • Once the cheese has fully melted into the sausage add in the juice of the lemon and stir through.
  • Drain the cooked pasta and toss it through the sauce until fully coated.
  • Chop some basil or parsley and stir it through. Serve the pasta topped with some black pepper and a generous amount of grated parmesan. I like a simple salad with tomatoes and balsamic vinegar on the side to cut through the richness of the sauce.

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