This 3 ingredient nduja butter pasta is almost so simple it's embarrassing! When you have a flavour bomb like nduja, it really doesn't need much else. Nduja and butter are the perfect match and then the third ingredient of lemon juice just brightens it all up with a perfect zing. Not only is is low on ingredients, it's low on time, coming together in the time it takes to cook your pasta.
Hello! I am writing up this new recipe, almost embarrassed at it's simplicity. In truth this came about from my laziness at not having done a grocery shop. I opened my fridge and saw a jar of nduja with a beaming halo around it so I added it to some butter, with a squeeze of lemon and magic was born. The most delicious pasta dishes are often the most simple, wouldn't you agree? If you have made my fast and delicious creamy nduja pasta sauce, you will love this too!
Nduja is such a powerful ingredient to have in your fridge, it adds the most incredible depth of flavour to anything at all. The butter is browned slightly to add flavour and the lemon juice rounds it all out. I do add a 4th, very important ingredient at the end, LOADS of parmesan!
I have used a dried casarecce pasta for this dish but use anything you like, I'm not into rules. If you would like to make your own fresh pasta make sure you use my easy homemade pasta dough which you could cut into homemade pappardelle. If you know me at all, you know I love hand rolled shapes. Both my hand rolled gnocchi sardi or homemade orecchiette would be divine with this sauce.
Ingredients for nduja butter pasta
This won't take long! I'm kind of cheating as I do add parmesan and black pepper to the top BUT there really is only three in the sauce itself.
- Butter - I usually use unsalted butter but for something this simple, salted is absolutely fine. If you use unsalted you'll want to add a couple of big pinches of salt to taste. The butter is ever so slightly browned before adding the nduja.
- Nduja - The star of the show. This slightly spicy, spreadable sausage paste does all the heavy lifting. You could use more or less depending on your preference.
- Lemon - If you have made any of my recipes, you'll know I love using fresh lemon juice. It brightens up any dish and helps to break through the richness. I use the juice in the sauce then the zest for the top. It's a good idea to pre zest the lemon before you cut it open to squeeze the juice.
What is nduja?
Nduja is a spreadable sausage paste from Italy. It is red in colour and either comes in a jar or vacuum packed in a bag. The flavour is hard to describe, you have to trust me on this one. It is super savoury and has a kick of chilli but not overly spicy if used sparingly.
I love to use it in pasta sauces as it adds such a unique and delicious flavour note. It really is an amazing secret weapon to have in your fridge. Pop a spoonful into a tomato sauce, throw some into some stir fried or roasted vegetables, the possibilities are endless!
I have an addictive nduja mac and cheese recipe that you should also try! Most specialty supermarkets should have nduja, just google it in your area. If you really can't find it you could blend some chorizo. I always think if I can find something here in New Zealand you must be able to find it anywhere! There are also vegan ndujas available!
Browning the butter
I'm always looking to add as much flavour as I can to a dish and especially one with so few ingredients. If you have ever baked with brown butter (the Cloudy Kitchen brown butter chocolate chip cookies are my ride or die) you'll know it adds such a wonderful nutty depth of flavour.
If you have never browned butter, don't be afraid, it's so simple! Basically what happens is the milk solids in the butter separate over the heat and they sink to the bottom and that is the browned bits you get. I like to use a medium heat, swirling the pan every so often. It will sizzle, then crackle quite loudly then foam up. When it foams you really need to watch it closely so that the milk solids don't burn.
Swirl with a spoon so you can see what is going on under the foam. We just want to slightly brown it here. You'll want to turn the heat down before adding the nduja and lemon in.
Why pasta water is your best friend!
You'll hear me harp on about the magic that is pasta water in 99% of my recipes. It really is a key ingredient in every sauce I make. The starch left behind in the water acts as a thickening agent and helps sauces cling to the pasta. I couldn't make a sauce without it.
I never EVER drain my pasta in a colander, I always transfer it directly to the sauce using a spider strainer. That way the pasta pot full of water is left there for you to ladle in as you need. if you have seen my reels on instagram you'll notice my sauces are SAUCY.
Pasta soaks up liquid so quickly so I add enough pasta water to make it quite liquidy. By the time I serve into bowls and take to the table it hasn't dried up. You'll get to know what the right consistency is with some practice, you can't go wrong though I promise!
Tips for making this nduja butter pasta
- Have all your ingredients, measured out and ready to go before you start cooking. This is a really good habit to get into any time you cook. Taking a little extra time to do this and clean your bench down before cooking makes such a big difference!
- This sauce comes together in a few minutes so if you are using dried pasta you will probably start cooking the sauce after the pasta is put in the boiling water.
- Don't have you heat too high. I never like to have the heat high, you want a nice gentle bubble at all times.
- If you drain your pasta in a colander as opposed to adding it straight from the pot with a spider strainer then make sure you reserve some pasta water first. Pull out a cup so you have more on hand if you need.
- If you have mistimed the pasta cooking and your sauce isn't done yet or if you would like to cook the pasta first, then pop a knob of butter in with the pasta. Adding some butter to cooked pasta after it is drained helps it not bloat and stick. Plus it's nice to snack on as you cook the sauce!
I have a few other Nduja recipes so make sure you check those out! I love mixing it into cooked potatoes or stir fried vegetables. It's amazing with roasted brussel sprouts! Spread it on toast, honestly it can be used on anything!
Check the back of your jar! The one I use says use within 30 days. I have definitely used it after a couple of months and it's been fine. You could always freeze it if you don't think you'll use it within that time.
Use whatever you have on hand. The only thing to know is that if you use unsalted butter you'll always need to taste for seasonings and add a couple of big pinched of salt.
In Italian it is pronouned en-du-ya!
Want some other sauces to try?
If you loved this 3 ingredient nduja butter pasta and haven't tried my fast and delicious creamy nduja pasta sauce then add it to the top of your list. My Nduja Mac and Cheese really is a must as well! If you love a butter sauce as much as I do then you need my 10 minute brown butter for pasta in your repertoire.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print