Nduja, red pepper and feta baked brunch eggs

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I’m just going to come out and say it… I love baked eggs! They are the perfect weekend breakfast or brunch that’s quick and easy so you still have plenty of time to read the papers and keep the tea and coffee coming. You can also use this recipe as a base recipe for tweaking as you go. I often add fresh baby spinach or kale and red onion is also delicious but the key is to keep it as light as possible.

Ingredients- serves 2
2 garlic cloves- finely sliced
1/2 tbsp nduja
Tin of chopped tomatoes
2 jarred roasted red peppers
Dried oregano, salt and pepper
50g feta
2 eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Take a small overproof frying pan or ceramic dish that is big enough to fi the tomatoes into. Add a small glug of oil over a medium heat; fry the garlic for a minute before adding the nduja to melt into the mix. Sprinkle in the oregano, add the tomatoes and peppers. Season to taste, Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until thickened slightly.

2. Crumble over the feta. Make two slight hollows in the tomato mix and crack the eggs into it. Finish off in the oven until the egg white is set. Serve immediately with plenty of fresh sourdough.

Nduja, red pepper and feta baked brunch eggs- grab your bread and dip until your heart and stomach’s content!

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Nduja and cherry tomato vongole

Now if you’re expecting a traditional spaghetti vongole then think again! Vongole is a classic Venetian clam pasta dish but this is a twist on it. I have used a touch of nduja which is a Calabrian spreadable salami to add a chilli hit along with some vine cherry tomatoes which give the pasta a wonderfully light, summery feel to it. It is also a perfect way to try clams in pasta if you haven’t had them before. I also used linguine instead of spaghetti for a change and the sauce clings perfectly to it.

Clams can be bought fresh or you can also get them jarred in good Italian delicatessens. I was recently bought a jar so used this and I was pleasantly surprised! They needed very little preparation apart from a quick drain and I then removed any that were already open and any pieces of broken shell and away I went!

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Ingredients- serves 2
200g linguine
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves- finely chopped
1/2 tbsp nduja
50ml dry white wine
100g vine cherry tomatoes
250g clams or one jar of clams- washed and drained
Fresh basil- chopped

1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil for the pasta and cook according to packet instructions. The pasta will be finished off in the sauce so aim for al dente; drain and set aside whilst you crack on with the sauce.

2. Take a wide pan and heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook for a couple of minutes until starting to soften. Stir in the nduja so it starts to break and melt into the oil before pouring in the wine. Simmer until reduced by half. Take the cherry tomatoes and quarter them. Add the tomatoes in and simmer until the tomatoes start to reduce and thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

3. When the tomatoes are nearly ready, add the drained linguine into the pan and combine with the sauce so it is well coated. Carefully tip the clams into the pan, cover for a couple of minutes and steam until the shells open. Discard any that do not open. Finish with the basil and serve in warmed bowls immediately.

Nduja and cherry tomato vongole- a summery version of an Italian classic that is perfect for dining al fresco!

 

Baked melting mozzarella stuffed nduja meatballs

Like meatballs? Like melting cheese? Yes, of course you do! You’d be mad not to! Well this is your ticket to an easy, crowd pleasing dinner. I try to use the best quality mince I can as you really do taste the difference compared to cheaper ones on offer. This recipe calls for a mixture of beef and veal mince but you can use one variety if you prefer. Veal mince keeps the meatballs moist and it is worth a try if you have not tried it before. It has a more subtle flavour than beef and I also love using it in spaghetti bolognese.

Now this is not the first time I have used nduja in recipes on this blog and it certainly won’t be the last. This soft, spicy Calabrian beauty’s popularity has risen over the last few years and is now readily available in delis and supermarkets. The lovely people at Duchy Charcuterie very kindly sent me some of their award winning nduja to try and I was smitten. Compared to some other ndujas I have cooked with in the past, this one is more mellow but still packed with flavour. You can find out more about the nduja from Duchy Charcuterie from marc@duchycharcuterie.co.uk.

Red pepper and nduja are a match made in heaven so I have laced the tomato sauce with roasted pepper. The ready roasted jarred peppers are always in my cupboard on hand and are perfect for a quick fix. They soften into the sauce beautifully but of course can be substituted with fresh red peppers if you like.

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Ingredients- serves 4
200g beef mince
200g veal mince
Salt and pepper to season
2 mozzarella balls- cut into small chunks
2 tbsp nduja
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion- finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
3 jarred roasted red peppers- sliced
Handful of freshly torn basil to finish- optional

1. Kick off by choosing the correct pan that can be used to fry off the meatballs and that is suitable for popping in the oven- purely a washing up saving device! Get started by making the meatballs and this can be done in advance. Take the two types of mince and add the nduja into it; season well. Some nduja is more solid than others so I tend to pinch small pieces off and then distribute through the mince mixture. Squish together well to bring the mixture together- the meat will bind after a bit of working and that’s when it is ready to shape so it holds. I find that using egg to bind mince can result in a stodgy meatball but trust me that these will still keep their shape! You are after meatballs which are slightly larger than a golf ball. Take the mince, flatten it in the palm of your hand and then pop a cube of mozzarella in the middle before wrapping the mince around it. Repeat until all the mince has been used. Make sure the cheese is well wrapped as you don’t want it oozing out. Pop the balls on a tray and chill until you’re ready to cook.

2. Take the pan of choice and add a glug of olive oil. Heat to medium and take the meatballs in batches and fry until golden on the outside. Remove from the pan and set aside whilst you make the tomato and red pepper sauce. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan in preparation.

3. If there is a lot of fat from the mince then drain some off to leave about a tablespoon of it. Don’t throw it all away as it is full of flavour! Over a medium heat, add the onion and cook until softening. As garlic cooks more quickly, add this in a minute or two before the onion is done. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and sliced roasted red pepper and bring to a simmer. If using fresh peppers you may like to add the pepper in first and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes.

4. Add the golden meatballs back to the pan and arrange so they are not all crammed in and they have space between. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the meatballs are cooked and the sauce is nicely reduced. Finish with some roughly torn basil if you like and serve. These meatballs are as delicious with pasta as they are with a hunk of bread so it’s up to you!

Baked melting middle nduja meatballs- pimp up your midweek dinner!

 

 

 

Spicy nduja macaroni cheese

Who doesn’t love macaroni cheese in its many, deliciously rich guises? This version of macaroni is a spicy revelation which needs to be part of your menu at home. Unlike when I make a classic version, keep the cheeses simple; I have used parmesan and cheddar as blue cheese would not go with the nduja.

Nduja is becoming more accessible and can now be found in a lot of supermarkets and Italian delis. I particularly like the version from Eat Drink Ideas- they can be found on St Albans Market on a Saturday as well as online here. It’s a soft salami which lends itself to use in a range of recipes such as soups, stews and pastas. As we are breaking with tradition, I have not used traditional macaroni, but instead I have gone for larger tubes which hold the sauce just as well.

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Ingredients- serves 4
400g pasta of your choice
40g butter
40g plain flour
200ml double cream
200ml milk
As much parmesan and cheddar as you dare!
1-2 tbsp nduja depending on how much spice you can handle

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Take a large pan of water and bring it to the boil; cook the pasta shapes of your choice according to packet instructions. Remember to keep the pasta al dente as it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain the pasta well and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Melt the butter and flour together in a pan over a medium heat and stir well to combine. Gradually pour in the milk and cream and keep it moving so lumps don’t form. Simmer and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, season well and add in the cheese and nduja. The nduja will melt into the warm sauce; stir well to distribute. Add the pasta into the pan and make sure each piece of pasta is well covered in the delightfully spicy sauce.

3. Tip the pasta into an ovenproof dish and top with some extra cheese; bake for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling. Leftovers also reheat really well if you give the pasta a quick blast in the microwave (if there’s any left of course!).

Spicy nduja macaroni cheese- a modern twist on a classic!

Red pepper and nduja baked eggs

Bakes eggs are such a fabulous way to kick start the day when you have a few minutes to spare. They are also a great way to line the stomach before Christmas festivities take over and the booze starts to flow freely! Use this recipe as a basis and tweak by adding extras if you like. Baked eggs are forgiving and most things will work. I have used red pepper paired with red onion, garlic and nduja to spice things up. I often include a bit of greenery such as spinach and this is also delicious. Ingredients such as chorizo, kale and feta also work really well so get experimenting.

You can bake these in individual ceramic dishes or one larger one so everyone can dig in!. I like to serve my eggs with fresh sourdough bread so read on and get cooking!

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Ingredients- serves 2 hungry people
Glug of oil
1-2 garlic cloves- finely chopped or crushed
1 red onion- finely chopped
2 ready roasted bell pepper- sliced
1 tbsp nduja
1 tsp oregano
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper to season
2 large eggs

1.Preheat the oven to 190c/ 170 fan ready for the eggs in a short while. In the meantime, get going with the sauce. Take a saucepan and heat a glug of oil over a medium heat. Add in the garlic and onion and cook for a few minutes until softening nicely. Pop in the pepper, nduja and oregano and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add in the tomatoes and season well. Simmer for a few minutes before placing the sauce into one or two ovenproof ceramic dishes, depending on if you want to make individual portions or one sharing dish. Crack the eggs into the middle of the dishes and cook for around 10 minutes until the egg white is set and the yolk is soft. Serve with lightly toasted sourdough and get dipping!

Spicy baked eggs- perfect for a little festive indulgence!

Fiery n’duja and slow cooked vine ripened tomato fusilli

N’duja is an utter joy to behold so if you haven’t tried it before read on. Think spicy, think flavoursome, think n’duja. It’s an Italian soft, spreadable sausage style meat that is so versatile and has become more available over the last couple of years so look out for it in your local Italian delicatessan. I love it in simple pastas so give it a go! I use one from www.eatdrinkideas.co.uk who you can also find on a Saturday at the St Albans farmer’s market.

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Ingredients- serves 4
Glug of olive oil
2 garlic cloves- crushed
1 banana shallot- finely sliced or chopped
2 tbsp n’duja (or more if you like it even spicier!)
8 vine ripened tomatoes
Small handful of flat leaf parsely- finely chopped
Salt and pepper
300g pasta such as fusilli

1. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a saucepan and pop in the banana shallot and garlic to cook for a couple of minutes until starting to soften. I love using banana shallot (which is not actually a shallot, but a cross between a shallot and an onion) to add a gentle sweetness but you can add a small onion if you prefer.

2. Take the equivalent of 2 tbsps of n’duja and stir into the pan. The heat will break the meat down and it will melt into the shallot and garlic. Remember that n’djua can be quite spicy so you can always add a bit more as you go but you can’t take it back out again! You can try a bit before you add it if you’re not sure how hot your n’duja is.

3. The tomatoes need their seeds removed before cutting into small chunks. I leave the skin on for an extra texture however you can take these off if you prefer. Add these to the pan along with the parsley and season to taste.

4. Simmer the sauce for around 45-60 minutes until thickened. Have a quick taste and you can add a little more n’duja at this stage if you want a bit more kick! Just before the sauce is ready, prepare the fusilli, drain well and stir through the sauce to coat each piece. I sprinkle a bit of extra parsley to serve along with parmesan.

N’duja- once you have discovered it you will wonder how you went all these years without it!