Over the last twenty seven years since we first pioneered Pesto and brought it to the UK from its homeland in Italy, we’ve watched with interest and excitement as other regional Italian ingredients and ideas have followed in the footsteps of Pesto.
Sun Dried Tomatoes made their first appearance, arriving from the southern shores of Italy, at about the same time as Pesto – one day we had never heard of them and the next they were on pizza, pasta and in breads and salads. Today we tend to favour the “sun-blush” or roasted tomato but the chewy, slightly leathery, intense sweetness of the tomatoes, dried in the fierce Italian sunshine, will always have a place at our table.
Find our favourite Sun Dried Tomato recipe here: http://www.sacla.co.uk/recipes/cancel-the-takeaway/sicilian-style-penne-with-aubergines-organic-tomato-pesto/
And where would we be without Aceto Balsamico, arriving from Modena where it’s been prized for hundreds of years? We embraced the romance of this indispensable ingredient and today it’s a store cupboard staple, and completely synonymous with Italian food of all kinds, drizzled, laced and enhanced.
More recently, we’ve seen the arrival of Burrata which also sprung up overnight, as the rather more alluring and seductive Mozzarella. What we seem to love is it’s “filling” of Straciatella and cream. Burrata means “buttery” and it’s a fitting description for a cheese that is perfect in salads, a-top pizza and melted through pasta.
So what next you ask? Well, we’ve got our sights set on ‘Nduja, a soft and spicy salami that hails from Calabria, Italy’s toe, that seems to be the ingredient of the moment. That’s largely thanks to one of our favourite chefs, Francesco Mazzei who will doubtless be credited with ‘Nduja’s arrival in the UK back in 2008 – much as Sally Clarke has been for the Sun Dried Tomato.
Calabrian’s spread Nduja thickly on bread and quite delicious it is too, and it’s just as delicious with seafood (really!), in pasta, and on pizza. We’ve tried it recently at “Appletons at the Vineyards” in Cornwall, with crisps Parmesan and Polenta chips.
It’s pronounced “en-doo-ya” and is the ingredient of the moment we think.
We would love your thoughts and ideas, let us know in the comments below.