I am overjoyed! I finally got my camera back after a three-week separation. I picked it up from Parcelforce on Thursday, and on Friday, one of a spate of truly lovely spring days we’ve been enjoying in London, I went to Borough Market, a market I’ve avoided lately because I usually spend a fortune there on lovely food. (Friday was no exception.) A week or so ago I bought some duck eggs which I planned to use for fresh pasta, and in Borough Market I was looking for one product in particular: ‘Nduja sausage. ‘Nduja is a soft, spreadable Calabrian sausage loosely related to Andouille. It’s seasoned with fennel and oregano and Calabrian chilis – apparently it can contain up to 60% chilli peppers – and the chilis give it a beautiful deep red colour. It pairs naturally with pasta; as David Strange, one of my favourite bloggers tweeted to me today, “Nduja is brilliant! Its fiery, piggy richness is great in pasta.” Too true.
Although I made this dish myself, this is no time for false modesty: I love this recipe. The duck egg pasta has the richness to complement the ‘Nduja sausage without merely being a vehicle, and the spicy, earthy ‘Nduja flavour is set off by bright sweet barely-cooked grape tomatoes, bitter arugula, and a touch of lemon zest. This is food that tastes like summer. It makes me wish I had a picnic table and a bottle of wine. (The wine, at least, I managed.) It pains me to say so, but if you are making this dish, the duck egg pasta is not a necessity; I think these seasonings would go equally well even with dried pasta. But try to find the ‘Nduja.
300 grams (about 10.5) ounces fresh duck egg pasta
150 grams (about 5 ounces) ‘Nduja sausage
Two to three tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
Three to four handfuls (maybe about 50-75 grams? sorry I can’t be more precise) fresh arugula (rocket)
200 grams (about half a pound) sweet grape or cherry tomatoes
Zest of one half lemon
Shaved aged parmesan cheese
Heat the olive oil in a skillet with the ‘Nduja sausage. The sausage should melt right down, but you can help it along with a rubber spatula. When the ‘Nduja is melted and bubbling, stir in the white wine and allow to evaporate.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until just al dente. Drain, reserving a couple of tablespoons of pasta water, and then add the pasta, the reserved water, the lemon zest, and the arugula (reserving a handful of arugula for garnish later) to the skillet with the ‘Nduja sausage. You should not need any additional salt and pepper, but of course you can feel free to add some if you wish. Toss over medium-high heat just until the pasta is coated in the sauce.