Nduja Rigatoni with Crispy Chickpeas


Rigatoni pasta dish
Credit: Napolina

Napolina has also partnered with Sunday Times and BBC Good Food magazine columnist Rosie Birkett to show people how easy and simple it can be to cook with pulses and beans. Nduja is a delicious, spicy, spreadable sausage from Calabria, it adds a wonderful chilli heat and savoury depth to this sauce. The chickpeas, once roasted add texture, crunch, extra protein and nuttiness.

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 5min
Cooking time: 20min

  1. Heat the oven to Fan Oven 180°C, Gas Mark 4. Toss the drained chickpeas into a roasting tray and drizzle over enough oil just to coat them, then season them well with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30min, until crispy and a deeper golden colour.
  2. Meanwhile, make your sauce. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the rosemary, onion, garlic and a big pinch of sea salt. Season well with black pepper and cook, stirring for a few minutes, until the onion is softening and turning translucent.
  3. Pour over the tinned tomatoes and sugar and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any crust from the pan, then cook for a few more minutes, until the tomatoes have concentrated and turned a lighter shade of red. Then add in the butter, stirring until combined.
  4. Season well, then transfer to a food processor and blitz until really smooth and creamy. You can skip this step if you want a chunkier sauce, but I love the way the silky sauce clings to the pasta, and think the extra washing up is worth it.
  5. Pour the processed sauce back into the pan, setting it over a low to medium heat and add in the nduja, stirring and cooking to dissolve it into the sauce.
  6. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until just al dente, adding the greens in to blanche them for the final minute.
  7. Add a ladleful of the pasta water to the sauce, stirring to loosen and emulsify it. When the pasta is ready, drain it and pour it into the saucepan to finish cooking.
  8. Divide between warm bowls and scatter over the crispy chickpeas and grate over some parmesan cheese, to taste.

Rosie commented,

Italian dishes use a wide variety of beans and pulses from chickpeas and cannellini beans to spelt, barley and quinoa. I’m working with Napolina to highlight some of the diverse ways people can learn to cook with these foods and make tasty and nutritious meals, inspired by my travels to Italy and a love of its hearty, warming dishes.

Napolina’s five simple tips for cooking with beans and pulses

  • Try Cannellini beans in classic Italian dishes such as Minestrone. The beans have a creamy texture and are great at absorbing flavours.
  • Include Chickpeas in your soups, salads or even a vegetable pasta dish as an alternative to meat as like most beans and pulses they are high in protein.
  • Add some substance to your risottos and pasta dishes with Red Kidney Beans or Butterbeans – these pulses are high in fibre and low in fat.
  • If you are after something lighter, add quinoa to your lunchtime soups and salads and try using olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper to add some subtle Mediterranean flavours.
  • Where possible, use canned beans and pulses rather than dried, such as Napolina’s Drained and Ready to Serve range as these are pre-soaked and pre-cooked, making them a convenient and easy option.