This recipe is modelled on one of my all-time favourite pasta dishes at one of my all-time favourite restaurants, Padella ❤️
Alongside Padella’s ever brilliant pici cacio e pepe (my number one must-order dish there, as I’m sure it is for many), I also adore their ‘nduja, mascarpone & lemon fettucine – it’s spicy, garlicky, creamy, lemony and extremely satisfying. Ever since I first tried it, I’ve been making my own version of it at home.
I’m not claiming to have cracked Padella’s recipe, my version is different – I like to add cherry tomatoes for a bit of extra flavour, moisture and additional texture and obviously I don’t make my pasta from scratch because I’m far too lazy.
For anyone who doesn’t already know, n’duja is a soft spicy sausage (which comes in a kind of soft paste) from Calabria in Italy and its goddamn delicious – adds A LOT of flavour without being overly ‘meaty’. It can be a bit of a pain to get hold of but Waitrose sells it (in a jar), as do specialist online ingredient sites like Sous Chef or try your local deli.
‘Nduja, mascarpone & lemon tagliatelle
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15-20 mins
200g tagliatelle (or any long pasta)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
150g (2 handfuls) cherry tomatoes, halved
parmesan, to serve
handful chopped basil or parsley, to serve (optional)
- Bring a large saucepan full of water to the boil and salt it heavily (if you don’t already know, your pasta water should be ‘as salty as the sea’ guys). Drop your pasta in and cook for a minute less than it says on the packet.
- Meanwhile, heat around 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and a large pinch of salt and fry for 2-3 mins (you want it starting to colour but you don’t want it to brown or it will become acrid). After a couple of minutes, add in the cherry tomatoes and fry for a further 3-4 minutes until they’re softened and releasing their juices.
- Around this time your pasta should be nearly done (you want it properly al dente because it will cook more in the sauce). Drain it but make sure to reserve at least a mugful of pasta water!
- Back in your frying pan, add your nduja and stir for a couple of minutes until its melting down. Add a ladleful of pasta water to create more of a sauce-like consistency, then turn the heat down to low. Add the zest and juice of half a lemon and the mascarpone, then stir until smooth.
- Stir your pasta into the nduja sauce and stir or toss to combine. Add more pasta water until the sauce is looking silky and glossy. Taste and season if needed (you may also want to add more lemon juice if you like things really lemony – your call!)
- Pile into two bowls and scatter with a hefty helping of grated parmesan, plus some chopped basil or parsley if you like.