Nduja, pronounced ‘An-du-ra’ or ‘An-du-ya’ depending where you are in Italy, originates from a small Calabrian village that one of my Nonnas comes from called Spilinga. It’s been called the nutella of the south because of its spreadable consistency and popularity. Nduja has become more well known here in recent years as well so we thought we would share with you Nonna Pina’s adapted version.
Traditionally it is made with pork shoulder, trimmings, the fatty under belly area and parts of the head all ground up and mixed with a large amount of hot peppers and salt. Then it would be lightly smoked and cured in a hog intestine.
Being one of the most typical Calabrese foods, it was on the top ten list of ‘foods I missed when I moved to Canada’ for Nonna Pina so she eventually started making her own version.
She starts out with roughly 40 pounds of ground pork shoulder. Added to this is 2 cups of salt, 4 pounds of ground pork fat, 5 pounds of cleaned and boiled pork skin with a bit of fat attached, and 20 cups of finely chopped hot peppers. All this is run through the grinder with a #12 plate and then mixed very well. The mixture is placed in a cool place to rest overnight.
The next day she prepares her casings by washing them thoroughly. Instead of hog casings she uses both sausage casings and salami casings. While stuffing the sausage casings she does not twist them. Once the stuffing is finished, the links are tied off with string and the entire length of nduja is hung in the cold cellar to cure.
The salami casings are much larger. They are stuffed full, tied off on each end and pricked with a sewing needle various times. They are then placed between two pans or pieces of plywood, covered with an old tablecloth or paper towels and finally, a weight is put on top of them for one week. They are turned every day and after one week they are hung from the rafters with the rest of the nduja.
While being pressed, it is normal for some moisture or juice to leak out. Change the paper towels or cloth if need be.
Here are the larger ones after a couple of weeks.
Nonna Pina also preserves half-pound portions of the prepared pork mixture in the freezer for use in other dishes such as pasta with nduja and anchovies or pizza with nduja. It’s even great just fried up and eaten with a chunk of crusty bread. This is a great example of how Italians have adapted some of their traditional foods and recipes. Sometimes it’s a result of what’s available and other times just because they like to experiment and try new things.