Spaghetti with clams and nduja
There are two camps of people today who know and love nduja: Serious foodies and those with roots in Calabria, the toe of Italy's boot. American chefs have recently become obsessed with it and are doing creative things like spreading it on fish, using it to spice up casserole recipes or mixing it into carbonara.
How to pronounce nduja
It's pronounced "ehn-doo-ya". It's very similar to New Orleans style andouille.
What is nduja
It's a spicy, spreadable sausage that is sold in a casing. Once you cut it open, nduja has the consistency of warm butter. It's ready to eat straight from the casing.
Where to buy nduja in Little Italy
Go straight to the Calabria Pork Store on Arthur Avenue. This butcher shop devoted solely to pork makes their own with signature Calabrese peppers. It's hanging above the counter rather than on the "sausage chandelier." If you can't find it, just ask.
As a backup, Teitel Brothers sometimes sells nduja made by Nduja Artisans in their small refrigerator case. Mike's Deli inside the Arthur Avenue Retail Market sometimes stocks it as well.
How to use nduja
Traditionally it's enjoyed as an antipasto, spread on a piece of bread. (Remember, you don't need to cook it.) A dollop of nduja may also be added to a plate of hot pasta. This recipe for spaghetti with clams and nduja has been perfected after many visits to Cosenza's Fish Market and Calabria Pork Store.
We hope you enjoy it too! Let us know how you use nduja in the comments section.
RECIPE: SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS AND NDUJA
1 package of high quality spaghetti or bucatini, preferably Rustichella d'Abruzzo which you can purchase at Mount Carmel Foods in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.
4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs chopped parsley
4 lbs vongole clams (the smaller the clams are, the better) from Cosenza's Fish Market
3/4 cup nduja from Calabria Pork Store
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse the clams with cold water in a colander. When the water has come to a rapid boil, lower the flame to medium and add the spaghetti.
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over a low flame. Add the clams and cover. Shake the pan a few times to distribute the clams across the surface and raise the heat to medium-high.
Wait about two minutes and peek inside to see that the clams are opening. (Leave covered if they require more time.)
Once the clams have all opened, add the lemon juice.
While the pasta is still very al dente, remove with tongs and place it in the pan with the clam juices. A bit of the pasta water will be transferred as you do which helps the sauce better adhere. Toss and cook over medium heat until l the pasta is done (to taste). It will absorb most of the liquid from the clams and take on its delicious flavor. If the clams did not release a lot of water and the pasta is too dry in the pan, add a little of the starchy pasta water.
Turn the flame to low, add the nduja and quickly stir so that it coats all the pasta.
Plate the pasta with the clams on top, lemon juice and cover with a sprinkling of chopped parsley. Serve immediately.