Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero Flowers and ‘Nduja

You just know Spring is here when the markets start to fill with new-season produce: everything’s so wonderfully green, crisp and fresh. Although I’ll miss winter and her cold, grey days, it’s lovely to be able to throw open the windows and let the warmer breeze gently blow in: the perfume of Jasmine wafting through the house every now and then. At the moment I’m enjoying cooking and eating Moonacres Farm Spring organic produce; particularly the young garlic and Cavolo Nero flowers, in a very quick and easy pasta, combined with some of Salumi Australia’s ‘Nduja.

‘Nduja is a spicy, spreadable-salami with a hit of chilli. It’s fabulous spread on grilled sourdough bread, but here I’m using it in cooking – it brings a wonderful zing when added to sauces – and in this case, the below recipe for pasta. This dish is not that dissimilar to the classic orecchiette al broccoli, which has always been one of my go to pastas for a quick, delicious supper. The ‘Nduja also adds a little depth and heat – but don’t overdo it. And because using produce that was picked yesterday is such a privilege, you should never do too much to it. If you can’t find cavolo nero flowers, young garlic, or ‘Nduja, use broccoli, 1 garlic clove, and 1 or 2 hot chillies. Either way, I think you’ll enjoy this fresh and spicy start to Spring.

Serves 2

  • 200g spaghetti
  • 150g cavolo nero flowers, rinsed
  • 2 bulbs young garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp ‘Nduja
  • 2 oil packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan to serve

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and throw in the cavolo nero flowers for just a minute. Take them out with a slotted spoon and put aside. Put the spaghetti into the boiling water, and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, pound together the ‘Nduja, anchovy fillets and butter. Before draining the pasta, take out ¾ cup cooking water from the pot, and pour ½ cup into the ‘Nduja mix, stirring well to combine. Reserve the rest of the water to use later if necessary. Drain the pasta , return pot to a low heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil and add the garlic. Gently sauté over a low heat for a couple of minutes, add the ‘Nduja mix and simmer for a couple of minutes until slightly reduced. Return flowers and pasta to the pot, tossing until well combined and coated with the sauce. Add the rest of the water if necessary, the lemon juice, black pepper to season, and serve in warm bowls, drizzle with a little olive oil, and add grated Parmesan.