Nduja (pronounced en-doo-yah) has taken the restaurant scene by storm. It's often snuck onto charcuterie boards, into tomato sauces, and paired with a variety of other dishes you wouldn't expect to find it in. But exactly what is nduja? 

Nduja's roots are in Italy, where many of the best foods originated. Specifically from Calabria, nduja is a spreadable salumi made from pork fat, herbs and spices, and Calabrian peppers. The peppers give nduja its iconic red color and its powerful kick of spice. 

While nduja is just now gaining popularity in the US, it's been popular in Europe for decades. Some think the word nduja stems from the French word andouille. The French fought the Spanish in southern Italy in the early 19th century, and it's thought that nduja was developed around that time as a poor man's andouille, so to speak. The original recipe for nduja is speculated to have been a mixture of pork fat, ground lungs and kidneys, and local chiles, and then smoked or aged.

Whatever the original recipe was, no one follows it now. In fact, nduja recipes vary from kitchen to kitchen. Iowa's La Quercia makes its nduja with prosciutto, speck, coppa, and chiles. Chicago's 'Nduja Artisans makes theirs with pork shoulder, fatback, and chiles (though they use much less than Calabrians do, because traditional nduja is incredibly spicy).  

Whether you sample nduja on pizza or bread like the Italians enjoy it or a more Americanized version, you're sure to fall in love with this spread. If you buy nduja for yourself, you'll be able to keep it wrapped in the fridge for weeks, meaning it'll be on hand to flavor any number of dishes. No matter your food preferences, you simply must try nduja—it really is that good.