Andrew Carmellini’s recipe for an ‘Nduja carbonara or “Calabrian Carbonara” in a recent Food & Wine Magazine was the tipping point to hunt down the ingredient from Italy and see what it was like. I wonder if Mr. Carmellini’s ‘Nduja was locally made in the U.S. or smuggled in from Calabria, as pork product importation into the U.S. is still problematic… I ask, because I made the recipe and it nearly blew the heads off a few of the guests, figuratively, of course! :)
It’s simple enough. Saute some ‘Nduja with olive oil (to sub for pancetta or guanciale) then add to fresh organic egg yolks and egg, pecorino romano and it’s done. I followed proportions but it was way too spicy, almost painfully so. If I had cut back the ‘Nduja by say 40%, it would have been much, much better. Think of it as a condiment rather than a major part of the dish. I like the fiery porky quality it brings (just look at the gloss on those noodles along with the egg yolks) but too much can kill a good thing. Will give this one more go, but I have to say, I love a classic guanciale carbonara, so this isn’t replacing that anytime soon.