Sweet and spicy. Bold and unforgettable. This creamy pumpkin sauce with the spiciness and smokiness of Italian ‘nduja will bring pasta to the next level. This is a perfect dish for all the pumpkin lovers.
I’m Italian, born and raised. But there are still so many Italian ingredients and dishes that I’ve never tried, because there are so many.
‘Nduja is one of those. I am aware of its existence but that’s it. Our local supermarkets don’t sell it or if they do, I wouldn’t notice it. Because it’s an ingredient from the southern Italian region of Calabria and we never use it in Tuscan cooking.
That’s how it goes, every region has its own cooking traditions and range of traditional ingredients that most of the times cannot be found in the rest of Italy. That’s the beautiful thing about Italy. You go on holiday in another region and it’s like going to a different country, except they speak the same language (more or less). Culture, food, landscape, traditions, everything is different in every region of Italy.
What is ‘Nduja
‘Nduja is a spicy (very spicy) spread made with pork, roasted chili peppers and spices. It’s stuffed in pork intestine casings and smoked. The flavor is of a smoked spicy sausage.
The name ‘Nduja comes from the French Andouille (it also has a very similar pronunciation), which is a name for many different types of smoked sausages, depending on the region. The Creole Andouille is also very similar. The Italian ‘Nduja has only a few things in common with Andouille. They’re both smoky pork sausages, but the Italian one is far more spicy and you cannot slice it because it has a spread consistency.
‘Nduja was born in Spilinga, a small city in Calabria, in the “toe” region of Italy. Calabria is famous for their very spicy chili peppers and its population is famous for loving spicy dishes, contrary to the rest of Italy. ‘Nduja is usually spread on grilled bread and accompanied with cheese. But it’s also very common in pasta sauces or as topping on pizza, frittata and more.
Pasta with Pumpkin and ‘Nduja Sauce
- 170 g (7 oz) Pasta
- 1/2 Hokkaido Pumpkin
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- 3 tsp Cream
- 2-3 tsp ‘Nduja
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Peel and chop the pumpkin into small cubes. Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and add the pumpkin. Add the salt, black pepper, pinch of oregano and thyme and sauté for about 5 minutes.
- Add a splash of water, turn down the heat and cover with a lid. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft.
- Halfway through the cooking of the sauce, toss the pasta in the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions.
- Use a potato masher to purée half of the pumpkin. Add the cream and the ‘Nduja. Mix well and let it cook at low heat for a few more minutes.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. The ‘Nduja should be completely melted and mixed in the pumpkin sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
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