Day 52: Fettuccine with Nduja, Mascapone & Lemon
inspired by Padella
I’m amazed it’s Day 52. Not because I’ve lost track of time, although that often happens.
No, I can’t believe I have written fifty one other blog posts before writing about Padella. Considering this restaurant is all about pasta. Ask anyone in London about their top places for pasta and chances are Padella would be there.
And I am obsessed with pasta.
I’ve written about Trullo and their beef shin ragu. Tullo is the original Italian restaurant owned by the Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda. Then in 2016 they decided to open a pasta bar by Borough Market. And that is Padella.
I’ve got the Trullo cookbook. I realise this in the only cook book I own that is from a specific restaurant, rather than a chef.
Ironic then that neither the dish I cooked from Trullo, nor this one from Padella is in there.
I’m making this up as I go along.
“Fettuccine with Cobble Lane Cured nduja, mascarpone & lemon”
This sounds amazing. And it’s perfect for me to cook. Because I actually have nduja from Cobble Lane Cured.
Cobble Lane Cured make British Charcuterie in London. I’ve seen their name crop up time and time again on restaurant menus.
Last week I discovered they deliver.
So as my next venture into supporting small British producers, especially those who’s main revenue streams have dried up due to closures of restaurants, I placed an order.
The great thing about charcuterie is it’s easy to post. It’s also easy to store as until you open it you don’t need to put it in the fridge. Which is music to my ears.
So I’ve got a selection of their charcuterie stored in one of my kitchen cupboards, to come out whenever we fancy some. I cannot wait.
But the first thing I’m going to do is cook with their nduja. I’ve never cooked with nduja before. I can’t even pronounce it.
The packet describes it as
“Spreadable pork fat salami”
This is going to be good. I can tell.
The great thing about this dish is that you can make the sauce in the time it takes the pasta to cook.
But first I need to make the pasta.
So what on earth is the difference between fettuccine and tagliatelle?
Tagliatelle originates from Emilia Romagna and Marche region of Italian. Whereas fettuccine originates from Rome. It seems the main difference is that fettuccine can be ever so slightly thicker. But I don’t think I would be able to tell. Maybe an Italian would.
It doesn’t really matter anyway as my pasta machine has only two settings for cutting pasta ribbons. Narrow (so like spaghetti) or a bit wider. But I don’t roll my pasta down to the thinnest setting. I leave it one thicker, to try and be authentic.
I’ve also been playing around with my pasta recipe. After the success of the pasta in my Tortellini in Brodo I’m sticking with Locatelli’s method of using a mix of whole eggs and egg yolk.
I’ve only got two eggs. One egg and one yolk doesn’t seem quite enough to bring the dough together. So I add a table spoon of olive oil to the mix too. This works really well. I still need a tiny bit of water to bring the pasta dough into a ball that I can knead. But less than usual. In fact rather than adding water to the mix I simply keep wetting my hands as I bring the dough together.
Once the pasta has rested I roll it out. And yes I used my oven door handles to hang the sheets of pasta on again. Works like a charm.
As I wait for the water to boil I chop some garlic and add it to a large frying pan with some olive oil. As soon as the garlic starts to sizzle I add the nduja. I thought I would cut off a chunk, but no. I need to scoop it out with a spoon. That is how soft it is.
It melts down in no time. By now the pasta is in so we are a couple of minutes away from dinner. In goes lemon and mascarpone and some of the starchy cooking water. Once the pasta is cooked that goes into the sauce with some chopped parsley and it’s done.
We sit down to eat. We are very quiet. This plate of pasta has our full attention.
This dinner was incredible. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging. But simply put this was the best thing I have cooked so far in lockdown. Aidan’s words not mine. In fact Aidan actually applauded.
But it’s nothing to do with me. The secret to this dish is that nduja from Cobble Lane Cured. They’ve done all the hard work.
I had lots of plans for the rest of my nduja. Not anymore.
I’m just going to make this again. And again. And again.
Fettuccine with nduja, mascarpone & lemon
- 200 g fresh or dried pasta
- 1 clove garlic
- 60 g nduja
- 2 tbsp mascarpone
- ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp grated parmesan
- Put a pan of water on to boil with lots of salt. Add you pasta and cook according to packet instructions.
- Heat a small drizzle of oil in a large frying pan. Chop the garlic and add to the oil. When it starts to sizzle add the nduja. Keep stirring until the sausage paste melts.
- Zest and juice the lemon. Add the zest to the nduja with a ladle full of the pasta water and keep stirring.
- Once your pasta is cooked drain and keep a bit of the cooking water. Add the fettuccine to the pan with the lemon juice and mascarpone and toss well until it is all combined. Stir through some chopped parsley. Serve with grated parmesan.