With over 500 miles of coastline, the coastal town of Calabria houses some of the best seafood in Italy, to no surprise. Swordfish, anchovies, tuna and octopus, as seen in this pasta salad, are the most common fish and seafood used in the local cuisine of Calabria. Another key ingredient in this recipe is nduja, a spreadable, completely cured pork that doesn’t need to be cooked. Between the octopus and the spicy, rich nduja in this Calabrian pasta salad, the only thing missing is the coastal, ocean breeze.
*Best served with Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva, Il Ducale*
Taste profile: Cherry, plum, spice, and leather notes on the nose; dry, medium to full bodied, tart cherry and plum flavours with hints of cedar
1 box Barilla Ditali pasta
1 cup nduja
2 lbs. octopus
2 pints multicolor cherry tomatoes, halved
2 lemons, juiced
6 tbsp. EVOO, divided
½ cup basil leaves, torn
Boil octopus in salted water with ¾ onion, for approximately 35 minutes, turn off heat and let cool down in its own broth for about 2 hours.
- Strain octopus and cut it into ½ inch long pieces.
- Cook pasta according to the directions but drain one minute earlier and drizzle with 1 tbs of E.V.O.O. and let cool down to room temperature flat on a sheet pan.
- In a hot skillet, sear the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a separate skillet, gently dissolve nduja with remaining olive oil. Add octopus and sauté together for 1 minute.
Stir in ditali, lemon juice, tomatoes, and fresh basil before serving.