This 'nduja pasta with roasted cauliflower is the flavour packed meal you are craving mid week. Spicy and full of goodness this easy meal will keep you feeling completely satisfied.
If you aren’t familiar with the wonderful creation that is 'nduja, you need to be and you need this 'nduja pasta with roasted cauliflower in your life right now! Pasta is one of those carbalicious delights that is quite often demonised, but I can promise you there is no need for that! There's nothing wrong with pasta and enjoying a big plateful of carbs with a side of more carbs (garlic bread ha!). This 'nduja pasta is spicy and has a lovely smokiness from the roasted cauliflower dotted with flecks of tangy capers and garlic. What's not to love, right? If you are a fan of spicy definitely check out our Gochujang Noodles with Salmon.
Pasta in my house has started to be a bit more of a frequent occurrence, not just because of its ease, but because we love making super flavourful sauces to go with it. It really does make a huge difference! Check out my Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta and my Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake that you’ll love too!
This 'nduja pasta recipe is very easy to make, the most time consuming part about it is roasting some cauliflower in the oven and that can be done whilst preparing the sauce and pasta. I know you’ll love this recipe so share the love and leave a comment and rating below letting me know what you think.
What is 'Nduja?
'Nduja, pronounced en-doo-yah, is a spicy spreadable salami from Calabria, in southern Italy. It’s made with Calabrian chilli pepper paste (which is pretty spicy!) that is mixed with a blend of pork meat and fat. This ground mixture is then fermented and cured making it safe to eat. It’s often spread on bread and served with cheese and can be made into lovely pasta dishes like this one! Varieties can vary depending on where it is from, some are a lot spicier than others.
Why is this awesome?
This 'nduja pasta is awesome and you need to make it for these reasons:
Easy - the recipe is very easy to follow, it’s made up of two parts. An 'nduja pasta sauce and the roasted cauliflower. These are then tossed with pasta and voilá! It’s that simple. Just be sure to follow the recipe/tips to ensure you get the most flavour out. Cause... you know we love flavour and all that!
Delicious - 'nduja has a high fat content and we create a sauce by combining it with butter which gets speckled with capers, garlic and parmesan. It's full of flavour - you’ll be licking your lips it’s that good!
Romantic - whether you are single or in a relationship, there is something romantic about a bowl of spicy pasta. You can easily enjoy this for a Valentine’s/Galentine’s meal and just enjoy each other's company.
Customisable - this pasta is easily customisable, allowing you to switch things up based on availability of ingredients. It’s pretty special exactly as written though we’ll always offer customisations.
You don’t need too many ingredients for this 'nduja pasta. Most are very easy to get hold of, and although it has become a lot easier to get hold of 'nduja nowadays, you will likely need to go to a high end shop or buy online for this.
Cauliflower - this 'nduja pasta recipe uses a small head of cauliflower as the dish is designed for two people, but it is easily scaleable to make more. I think it’s important to enjoy vegetables as much as we can and cauliflower makes a great base to build flavour on.
Oil - you’ll need a little oil to help the cauliflower roast in the oven. I love using a cold pressed rapeseed oil as this adds a lovely flavour but it is also quite low in saturated fat.
Pasta - in the photos I have used spirallotti, but you can use whichever pasta you prefer. I have enjoyed this dish with bucatini also.
Butter - here’s where the flavour starts, as with any good sauce butter will add creaminess, but will also help soften the garlic in the base of the sauce.
Sauce mix-ins - you’ll be needing garlic, capers (I like to use the mini ones) and a good parmesan to finely shred; all of these are important to flavour. You will also need a wedge of lemon to add a squeeze of juice.
Nduja - finally the most important and essential ingredient, 'nduja. You can easily get this online here. I like to get mine from a British producer here. Whatever you get, just make sure it's 'nduja.
How to make it
Follow these simple steps to make this tasty 'nduja pasta:
- Toss small caulifower florets with the oil, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
- Roast the cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet at 200C/400F for 25-30 minutes until tender and lightly charred on the edges.
- In a large skillet, warm the butter over a low heat. Add the sliced garlic and mini capers and cook gently for 1-2 minutes without browning the garlic. Add the 'nduja and grated parmesan and melt it into the sauce. At this stage you can add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin the sauce.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta and roasted cauliflower into the sauce and toss together to coat everything evenly. Use ¼ -½ cup of reserved pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce and ensure a glossy pasta dish. Serve immediately with any additional grated parmesan and finely chopped parsley if desired.
Tips & customisations
Seasoning - I love to have really flavourful pasta and to do that it needs seasoning properly. This is done in layers: the sauce is seasoned, the pasta water is seasoned (flavouring the pasta) and the roasted cauliflower is seasoned. It all comes together to make a very tasty pasta dish. There's nothing worse than a bland and boring pasta dish!
Make ahead - for this recipe you can actually make part of it ahead of time. You can roast the cauliflower ahead of time and store in the fridge in an air tight container for a day or two ready for you to stir into your pasta dish if you want to make it even quicker.
Sauce mix-ins - you can change these up if you wish. I would always keep the garlic in but you could use roughly chopped green olives or the large caper berries instead of the mini capers. Also, if you don’t have parmesan you can use pecorino, or even just some finely grated cheddar.
Heat - now this is down to personal preference. Most 'nduja is very spicy. The one I use is milder, but if you want to use a little less 'nduja you can to temper the heat.
I recommend using about 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to every 16 cups of water (approximately 4 litres/quarts). This may seem like a lot, but remember you are not eating the water. The pasta is only in there for a short period of time and this seasons the pasta whilst it cooks.
Once, prepared this pasta will store well in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can be eaten cold for lunch or reheated.
I recommend reheating in a microwave safe container until piping hot. You can heat it up in a saucepan if you like, though the cauliflower might break up.
More tasty recipes
I hope you love this flavourful 'nduja pasta with roasted cauliflower! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment, rate the recipe and tag me on Instagram! I love seeing your creations!
Nduja Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower
- 1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets, 400g, 3-4 cups
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil
- 160 g spiralotti pasta (or your favourite), (~5 ounces)
- 30 g lightly salted butter, (2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoon mini capers
- 3-4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 3-4 tablespoons 'nduja, 60g
- 25 g parmesan, (½ cup) finely grated, plus more to serve
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- finely chopped parsley to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Toss with the smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper and the oil until evenly coated. Spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender and lightly charred at the edges.1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water before draining.160 g spiralotti pasta (or your favourite)
- In a large pan, warm the butter over a low heat. Add the garlic and capers and cook gently without letting the garlic brown. Stir in 3-4 tablespoons of 'nduja (depending on how much heat you can tolerate) along with the parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice.30 g lightly salted butter, 2 tablespoon mini capers, 3-4 cloves garlic, 3-4 tablespoons 'nduja, a squeeze of lemon juice
- Tip the drained pasta and the roasted cauliflower into the sauce and toss to distribute everything evenly. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce if needed. Season to taste and serve topped with a little more grated parmesan cheese and some fresh chopped parsley.25 g parmesan, finely chopped parsley to garnish