Paccheri, 'Nduja and Burrata
This dish can be described as a fusion of three iconic ingredients from three different regions: paccheri (large pasta tubes) from Campania; 'nduja (spicy and spreadable pork sausage) from Calabria; and burrata (creamy mozzarella) from Apulia. I am not sure this dish could have been created in Italy, as I have never come across it there. I first had it in the London restaurant L'Anima, cooked by Calabrian chef-patron Francesco Mazzei, whose menus tend to feature food from southern parts of Italy, where his wife comes from. A very good version of this dish is also on the menu at Tinello, another restaurant in London, which uses the superb paccheri made in Pastificio dei Campi.
The wonderful thing about this dish is how with each bite you have the heat from the 'nduja, the sweetness of the tomato and the wonderful cooling effect of the burrata.
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 San Marzano tomatoes, chopped and seeded, or 1 x 400 g can San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 400 g paccheri from Gragnano
- pinch of sugar (optional)
- 4-6 tsp 'nduja, depending how much spiciness you like
- 80 g burrata
- 8 fresh basil leaves
Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the tomatoes and salt and cook, uncovered, on a high heat for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the paccheri in boiling salted water until al dente.
Taste the sauce and add a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are not sweet enough. Pass the mixture through a mouli or passavedure, then return the sauce to the pan and stir in the 'nduja.
Drain the pasta, reserving half a cupful of the cooking water. Tip the pasta and reserved water into the sauce and mix well.
Serve each portion with a dollop of creamy burrata in the centre and sprinkle some torn basil leaves on top.