One-pan spaghetti with nduja, fennel & olives

One-pan spaghetti with nduja, fennel & olives

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(26 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 4

A spicy sausage pasta dish with a difference. Using the cooking water helps the sauce cling to the pasta and gives the dish more body. A silky smooth sauce, perfect pasta and one pan to wash!

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal608
  • fat25g
  • saturates7g
  • carbs72g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre7g
  • protein20g
  • salt1.4g


  • 400g spaghetti
  • 3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • ½ fennel, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 75g nduja or sobrasada paste (see tip)



    A spreadable type of air-cured salami from Calabria, in the south of Italy. Made from the…

  • 200g tomatoes (the best you can get), chopped into chunks



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 75g black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 40g pecorino, plus extra to serve
  • handful basil, torn



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…


  1. Boil the kettle. Put all the ingredients except the pecorino and basil in a wide saucepan or deep frying pan and season well. Pour over 800ml kettle-hot water and bring to a simmer, using your tongs to ease the spaghetti under the liquid as it starts to soften.

  2. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-12 mins, tossing the spaghetti through the liquid every so often until it is cooked and the sauce is reduced and clinging to it. Add a splash more hot water if the sauce is too thick or does not cover the pasta while it cooks. Turn up the heat for the final few mins to drive off the excess liquid, leaving you with a rich sauce. Stir through the pecorino and basil, and serve with an extra drizzle of oil and pecorino on the side.

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Comments, questions and tips

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16th May, 2020
Was dubious about cooking everything together in one pan, but it worked amazingly well and the n'duja cooked down into a lovely thick sauce. This is a new family favourite, although I do make it with chorizo for my spice-adverse daughter. I intend to try it with sobresada for a milder version, I imagine it would work well as it has a very similar texture to the n'duja.
17th Feb, 2020
Glad this method worked for some.... If you can spare two pans though the sauce ingredients combine enormously better when slow cooked together (less water) for 40 minutes and then you add in the separately cooked pasta at the end. To get the same coating effect of the sauce onto the pasta as cooking them together, just add an amount of the pasta cooking water and a knob of butter into the sauce. I also added some fennel seeds per an earlier comment (lovely slow cooked but would have been grim after 12 minutes) and a couple of anchovies in place of the salt. Some plain goat's cheese makes a creamy alternative / addition to the pecorino.
Claire Hu's picture
Claire Hu
27th Mar, 2018
Utterly delish! Not a flavour combination I would have thought of. Was a bit doubtful about cooking the noodles with the sauce but it worked just fine. Can be quite wet and almost soupy for those who prefer thicker sauces but I didn't mind. I suppose if you want the sauce to be thicker you could cook it separately from the noodles and that way you don't even have to add water really.
23rd Sep, 2017
I really enjoyed my meal, but basically only used the ingredients as a general guide! I cooked the sauce separately, long and slow (fennel seeds rather than fennel because I prefer the effect on flavor and texture of the sauce, chorizo because I couldn't find Nduja, no vinegar...). Then the pasta. I don't think I really took in that you should cook them together, but wouldn't have done so if I had! Seems strange to me, but if some people liked it, good!
17th Nov, 2016
Made this last night for tea and no body liked it! I think the sauce needs to be cooked slower in maybe a slow cooker for longer to breakdown the nduja and then cook the pasta separately to serve! Trouble here is the sauce needs longer to cook I feel than the past takes to cook (12 mins)! I did use tinned and the fresh tomatoes as there was not enough in the sauce and used apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar! Don't like olives so just omitted them! Will be trying this again with the sauce cooked in slow cooker.
5th Nov, 2016
Good meal which was easy to make. I use nduja which we bought in Sorrento! It did take a bit longer to cook that stated and we would eat it again, scored 8/10
30th Sep, 2016
I used a can of Cirio plum tomatoes. Took the tomatoes out and chopped them and used the juice as part of the 800ml of water. Great easy midweek meal that all the family enjoy, served with a simple green salad and extra olives. (my kids are addicted to olives)
30th Sep, 2016
Fantastic recipe!
26th Sep, 2016
Loved this recipe. Used chorizo instead of nduja and it worked fine, really tasty.
18th Sep, 2016
Really enjoyed this but did make a few changes. Used chorizo instead of nduja, and mushrooms instead of olives. It was so quick and easy and will definitely make it again. I'd highly recommend breaking the spaghetti in half instead of trying to "ease" it under the liquid as it softens. It tasted brilliant as leftovers the next day.
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