There are times when a comforting bowl of pasta is all that's needed and I cook this regularly because it's so simple and tasty. It's almost a complete 'store cupboard' meal that you can throw together with minimal fuss. Fusilli pasta is my shape of choice for this dish, using a great quality pasta such as our Armando range, makes a noticeable difference.
If you've never come across Nduja paste before it's a spreadable spicy salami from Calabria (the toe of Italy's boot). The flavour is so good that all this sauce needs is a little oil to get it going and some fresh tomatoes to add a little acidity. Any leftover paste as amazing on our Pinsa Romana sourdough pizza bases or warmed and spread on crostini.
Salted capers require a little bit more effort than ones in vinegar or brine, but they are well worth it, you actually taste the flavour of capers. Scatter a few into this dish like little flavour bombs that will give you an tantalising extra flavour hit!
As well as making the dish look pretty, a green element does provide a nice contrast to the rich flavours. I've used kale as it's available everywhere most of the year round - cavalo nero or chard would be equally as nice. A few black olives and a good grating of Grana Padano finishes everything off perfectly.
Prep time: Very Light
Washing up: 2 pans
Allergens: Gluten, Lactose.
450g Armando Fusilli Pasta
200g Good quality Fresh Tomatoes, sliced into chunks
140g Nduja Paste
160g Kale, stalks removed
60g Salted Capers, rinsed and soaked in cold water
60g Black Olives, de-stoned
2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling)
A good grating of Grana Padano
A good couple of pinches of salt.
1. Start by bringing a large saucepan of salted water to the boil to cook the pasta. When cooking pasta, you should be able to taste the salt in the cooking water.
2. Slice the tomatoes into chunks. I slice them into quarters through the stalk and then cut each one in half through the equator.
3. As the water is coming up to the boil, heat a wide frying pan (large enough to hold all the pasta once cooked) to a moderate heat. Add in the olive oil and the nduja paste and gently warm. Then toss in the tomatoes. You're aim here is the melt down the paste and cook the tomatoes so they start releasing their juice. Be careful not to get the pan too hot or the nduja paste will burn.
4. Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta for 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the kale in with the pasta (the kale needs around 5 minutes to be soft) and finish cooking them both in the same pan.
5. Once the pasta and kale are cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop it into the nduja and tomato sauce. You want a little of the salty, starchy pasta water to come with it, because it helps the sauce stick to the pasta. Toss in the capers and black olives and give everything a final mix.
6. Pile the pasta into warmed bowls, drizzle each one with some extra virgin olive oil and a good grating of Grana Padano. Enjoy!
And foodies, don't forget to tag Somerset.Foodie on Facebook or Instagram when you make this at home. Ben
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I keep reaching for our delicious Pickled Lemon Paste. It's intense lemon flavour provides a great lift to so many dishes whether it's a stew, sauce, dressing or marinade. This little salad is really quick and simple to prepare. The liquorice flavour of fennel is perfectly suited to carrying strong flavours...
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