The best weeknight pasta recipes are ones that call for just a handful of pantry ingredients, involve very little prep work, but still come with a big flavor payoff. This recipe more than fits the bill. It’s essentially a tomato-based meat sauce, but there’s no raw ground meat to brown or cured pork to slowly render over low heat. Instead, this sugo gets its meaty richness from one of our favorite salumi: ‘nduja.
Nduja’s high fat content, which gives it a soft, spreadable texture, also allows it to easily emulsify and meld into a quick tomato sauce made with just a couple of shallots (perfect for those of us who don’t love ending up with a fridge full of forgotten half-onions), and a bottle of tomato passata, an Italian pantry favorite of puréed but not cooked-down tomatoes, which is used as a cheat code for quick sauces.
Paired with al dente ziti, broken-up candele, or any short tubular pasta (check out our new pasta shape glossary for inspiration), and grated Pecorino Romano, this 30-minute dinner hits all the flavor sweet spots—salty, savory, and funky from the ‘nduja and cheese, with sweet acidity from the tomatoes. It’s Sunday gravy on a Wednesday.