This insanely delicious tomato nduja pasta will become a go-to recipe in your house, I just know it. It's a quick and glossy tomato pasta with the secret flavour weapon of nduja added. Nduja is a slightly spicy sausage paste from Italy and adds massive flavor to any pasta sauce. Known as Pasta con Nduja, this easy pasta dish will be on the table in less than 20 minutes.
Hello! I am always looking for new ways to use nduja in my kitchen so have put a spin on the traditional pasta con nduja. Simply meaning pasta with nduja, this traditional sauce is made up of red onion, passata and nduja. It's such a simple recipe! I add some butter and top it with toasted panko crumbs to take it to another level.
If you try this nduja tomato sauce and love it, I have lots of nduja recipes on my site. it's seriously one of my absolute favorite ingredients. My Fast and Delicious Creamy Nduja Pasta is one of the most popular recipes on my site. One of my personal faves is my Nduja Mac and Cheese.
What is nduja?
Nduja is a spreadable pork 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 spicy kick of chilli but not overly spicy if used sparingly. It will seriously up your pasta game!
It's become so popular in recent years and I love to use it in pasta sauces as it adds such a unique and delicious flavor note. It really is an amazing secret weapon to have in your fridge. I also love to toss it into stir fried veges, potatoes and it's spreadable consistency even makes it perfect for toast!
Pasta - Obviously! I have used a rigatoni as it's one of my faves. Use any pasta shape you like, fresh or dried.
Red onion - The traditional sauce uses Tropea onions which are super amazing and sweet but unless you're making a trip to Italy, regular red onion will suffice!
Nduja - The delicious spreadable Italian salami that mostly comes in a jar. You might have to google it in your area or buy it online. It's the key ingredient to this sauce so try and find a high quality one.
Tomato Passata - This is the jarred smooth tomato sauce, also known as tomato puree and forms the tomato base.
Sugar - I always add just a touch of sugar to a tomato sauce, it is totally optional but in my opinion balances out the sauce.
Butter - Finishing a tomato sauce with some butter turns it into a glossy and delicious triumph. Again, it's optional but it's kind of not in my book.
Toasted panko breadcrumbs are so delicious on any pasta dish. Simply toast them in a fry pan in olive oil until golden brown.
- Weigh your pasta portions. It's a 2 second job and ensures the perfect pasta to sauce ratio. I generally allow 100 grams of dried per person or 150 grams fresh pasta.
- Use a large skillet that the pasta will fit into at the end.
- Don't have your heat too high. The sauce should just be at a nice gentle simmer the whole time.
- Undercook your pasta! I always undercook dried pasta by a minute so it can finish cooking in the sauce and still be al dente. By letting pasta bubble away in the sauce you allow the pasta to take on flavor and it helps thicken the sauce too.
- I try and time my cooking so that when the pasta is done, the sauce is ready too. That way I can transfer the cooked pasta straight into the sauce from the water. The pasta cooking water is then sitting in the pot for me to use as I need.
How to make this tomato nduja sauce
Full ingredient list and method (plus a tutoial video) is in the recipe card below.
ONE: Toast the panko crumbs if using and get your pasta cooking in a large pot of water.
TWO: Gently fry the chopped onion in olive oil over a medium heat. Use a large frying pan so all the pasta will fit at the end.
THREE: Add the nduja paste and let it melt into the onions for 30 seconds.
FOUR: Add the tomato passata, ½ cup of pasta water, the sugar, a big pinch of salt and black pepper and let it gently simmer for 4 - 5 minutes.
FIVE: Add the butter and mix into the sauce.
SIX: Add your cooked pasta straight in and let it gently bubble away for a minute or two. Add a small ladle of pasta water if you need to loosen. Top with parmesan cheese, panko crumbs and some fresh basil.
Most specialty or gourmet grocery stores should have it. You might have to do a little googling to find it online if you can't locate it in a store. The jarred ones are my favorite.
It has calabrian chilli peppers in it so yes, it has a kick. The passata in this sauce dilutes the spice a lot. I use 2 ½ tablespoons but you could start with 2 and see how you go. Also feel free to add as much nduja as you like if you are a spicy food fan.
I would keep it simple with a side salad and some crusty bread to mop up the sauce. I love serving iceberg lettuce cut into big wedges and drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
As I always say, I am kiiiind of judging anyone who has leftovers. You can store leftovers in an airtight container for 2 - 3 days in the fridge if you must!
Want some other delicious sauces to try?
If you loved this Tomato Nduja recipe then check out my recipe section for lots of other pasta recipes. My Creamy Nduja Pasta Recipe is such a delicious sauce, you have to try it! My Nduja Mac and Cheese is also spectacular. For another tomato based sauce my Tomato Mushroom Pasta with Pancetta and Olives is divine!
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