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Hearty Dinners/ Pasta/ Pork/ Spice

‘Nduja Orzo

August 22, 2023 by Chris Collins

This ‘Nduja Orzo tastes luxurious enough to serve guests, but is easy enough to whip up on a weeknight!

This recipe is loaded with so much gorgeous flavour. It’s rich, spicy and best of all, it’s SO easy to make! Follow me…

close up shot of orzo with 'nduja in large white bowl with parsley and parmesan

Orzo with ‘Nduja

What is ‘Nduja?

‘Nduja – pronounced ‘en-doo-ya’ – is a spicy spreadable sausage from southern Italy. You can add it to a range of different dishes such as pizza, pasta, or various meats and seafood. Or just can slather straight on crackers or bread! Today, however, we’re turning it into an irresistible sauce for orzo.

The recipe itself is relatively simple and doesn’t require too many ingredients. The ‘Nduja offers a large amount of flavour, but it’s taken to new heights with some other goodies.

Flavour enhancers

  • Shallots & Garlic – These add a base flavour. Both are fried in butter, of course.
  • Tomato Puree – Aka Tomato Paste. This is necessary to add depth to the sauce.
  • Herbs – I love pairing ‘Nduja with rosemary. I think sausage and rosemary in general is a glorious combination. I also love adding parsley too, just for an extra burst of fresh flavour and to garnish.
  • Lemon Juice – This lifts the whole dish and helps cut through the richness of the sauce.
  • Parmesan – I love stirring this through at the end for an extra punch of flavour.

To create the sauce, we’re going to use chicken stock and cream. I did test this recipe without cream, but it’s just so much better with cream. It mellows out the intense tangy/spicy flavour of the ‘Nduja and helps create a creamy, glossy sauce.

Cooking the orzo

Instead of cooking the orzo separately and then combining it with the sauce, we’re actually going to cook it in the sauce. Not only does this mean less washing up, but it also means the excess starch from the orzo will help create a glossy/creamy sauce. The orzo also soaks in all the delicious flavours of the sauce too.

Process shots: fry shallots in butter (photo 1), fry garlic and rosemary then tomato puree and ‘Nduja (photo 2), stir in orzo (photo 3), add stock, cream and lemon juice (photo 4), simmer and stir (photo 5), stir in parsley and parmesan (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make 'nduja orzo

‘Nduja Orzo FAQ

Where can I find ‘Nduja?

You’ll find it in some supermarkets (I’ve seen it in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose), but most certainly in Italian grocers and online.

Is there anything I could substitute with?

Unfortunately, I’m yet to find anything close to the iconic taste and texture of ‘Nduja (leave suggestions in the comments if there is!)

How spicy is this dish?

‘Nduja will differ in spiciness from brand to brand, but this recipe shouldn’t be overbearingly spicy either way. Just a nice buzz!

How do I prevent the cream from curdling? 

It’s important that you’re using double/heavy cream to prevent it curdling from the lemon juice. Also, try and make sure the stock isn’t piping hot and the cream is at room temp. Sometimes pouring fridge-cold cream into boiling stock causes it to curdle.

close up shot of 'nduja orzo in large pan with wooden spoon digging in

Serving ‘Nduja Orzo

I love finishing with some more parmesan and parsley, but this is completely optional. This dish is great as it is because it’s so rich and hearty, but you could also add some sliced chicken on top as I’ve done below!

For another ‘Nduja recipe check out my ‘Nduja & Pesto Potatoes!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this ‘Nduja orzo shall we?!

'nduja orzo with grilled chicken in large white bowl with silver fork

How to make ‘Nduja Orzo (Full Recipe & Video)

close up shot of orzo with 'nduja in large white bowl with parsley and parmesan

'Nduja Orzo

This 'Nduja Orzo tastes luxurious enough to serve guests, but is easy enough to whip up on a weeknight!
Print Pin Rate
Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Calories per serving: 653kcal
Cost per serving: £2.50 / $3


  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Large Deep Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Jug (for stock)
  • Fine Cheese Grater

Ingredients (check list):

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 Shallots, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 tsp finely diced Fresh Rosemary
  • 90g / 3oz 'Nduja (see notes)
  • 45g / 1.5oz Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 1 litre / 4.25 cups Chicken Stock, plus more if needed
  • 400g / 2 cups uncooked Orzo
  • 120ml / 1/2 cup Double/Heavy Cream, at room temp
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 40g / 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to serve if desired
  • 2 tbsp finely diced Fresh Parsley, save some to garnish
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste


  • In a large deep pan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the shallots and fry until soft and golden, then add the rosemary & garlic and fry for a minute longer. Add the 'Nduja & tomato puree and fry for a minute.
  • Stir in the orzo then stir in the stock and cream. Stir in the lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat slightly and allow everything to bubble away until the sauce thickens and the orzo is al dente, stirring fairly regularly. If the sauce dries out before the orzo has cooked, just stir in more stock a splash at a time. If you run out of stock just use boiling water.
  • Stir in the parmesan and parsley until they blend with the sauce, then check for seasoning and adjust if needed. Serve with parsley and parmesan (if desired) then tuck in and enjoy!

Quick 1 min demo!


a) 'Nduja - This is a spicy spreadable sausage from southern Italy. It's got a gorgeous smoky, tart flavour. You'll find it in some supermarkets, sometimes called Nduja Paste (Waitrose/Sainsbury's). You'll definitely find it online or in Italian stores.
b) How to prevent the sauce curdling - Important that you're using double/heavy cream. This will prevent the lemon juice curdling the sauce. Also, try and make sure the stock isn't piping hot and the cream is at room temp. Sometimes pouring fridge-cold cream into boiling stock causes it to curdle.
c) Parmesan - Make sure it's freshly grated. The powdery stuff doesn't always melt into a silky sauce and can sometimes turn it grainy.
d) Serving - Great as it is because it's so rich and hearty. But you could also add some sliced chicken on top as I've done here!
e) Calories - Whole recipe divided by 4 with no chicken or extra parmesan.

Your Private Notes:


Nutrition Facts
'Nduja Orzo
Amount Per Serving
Calories 653 Calories from Fat 259
% Daily Value*
Fat 28.83g44%
Saturated Fat 14.915g75%
Trans Fat 0.428g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.812g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.254g
Cholesterol 89mg30%
Sodium 641mg27%
Potassium 522mg15%
Carbohydrates 85.2g28%
Fiber 11.7g47%
Sugar 2.33g3%
Protein 16.32g33%
Vitamin A 1119IU22%
Vitamin C 6.2mg8%
Calcium 128mg13%
Iron 1.78mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
Tried this recipe?Show me how you got on by tagging @dontgobaconmyheart_ on IG and #dontgobaconmyheart
Looking for more?You'll find plenty more delicious comfort food like this in my Debut Cookbook 'Comfy'

For more similar recipes check out these beauties:

Orzo Recipes






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Recipe Rating


  • Reply
    Geraldine Bradley
    August 23, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    These recipes look delicious I want to try every one of them.
    Just wanted to say thank you

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      August 23, 2023 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks so much, Geraldine! 🙂