In order to provide a bit more “flavor” for my presentation, I stopped by Barbacco on my way to class and picked up an order of their ‘nduja. ‘Nduja is a spreadable sausage with origins in Calabria, the region bordering Basilicata to the south, and which, at least in the Italian original, often incorporates Peperoni di Senise.
Rosetta Costantino, who teaches Calabrian cooking in Emeryville, and who last year came out with the wonderful cookbook, “My Calabria,” has done this blog post about ‘ndjua. I have borrowed a couple of Rosetta’s photos from that blog to show just how much red pepper the real Calabrian ‘ndjua contains!
I am afraid that Barbacco’s ‘nduja may not measure up to Calabrian standards of spiciness, but it is spicy enough for me and is a wonderful dish.
After last night’s class there was a bit of ‘nduja left over. Barbacco only serves its ‘nduja as an appetizer with some toasted bread, and I had always wanted to try it as a pasta topping as Rosetta shows in her blog – mixed just with a bit of tomato paste. I did just that this evening with some orechiette (sorry, it’s a Pugliese pasta, but at least Puglia also borders on Basilicata). It could not have been easier, and the result was fantastic.
I highly recommend giving that a try!