Pasta alla norcina is a typical recipe from Umbria; specifically the ancient town of Norcia, famous for its sausages and cured meats. There are actually two versions of pasta alla norcina. This one is made with Norcia sausage crumbled into a pan with oil and onion, fresh cream, truffle and pecorino. This is a very simple recipe with few ingredients but so flavourful and creamy you’ll want to make it part of your regular pasta menu.
A popular creamy sausage pasta recipe from Umbria
The other version of pasta alla norcina is usually made with long pasta like spaghetti or tagliatelle, which is dressed with only black truffles, garlic and anchovies, to which you can also add foraged mushrooms. I’m looking forward to giving that version a try soon. But for now let’s talk about this one!
Norcia; a little town with a big culinary reputation!
Umbria is well-known for its pork, hams, sausages, and other cured meats. The best of these come from Norcia. This town has become so famous for its method of pork butchery and preparation of cured meats, that butchers across Italy now use the term ‘norcino’ to refer to all kinds of meat preserved in the ‘Norcia’ way and the name ‘norcineria’ is used for butchers that specialize in preparing, curing and selling pork products.
Norcia is also famous for black truffles. In fact, the truffles found around Norcia are highly prized and considered a gastronomic gem. Every year at the end of February or beginning of March, there is an important Italian Black Truffle fair in the town. Visitors to the fair can taste all the gastronomic specialties of Umbria cuisine, and especially those with truffle, of course. These specialties include cured meat and cheese seasoned with truffles, as well as pasta dishes like this pasta alla norcina.
The Pasta for alla Norcina.
Can you use other types of sausage?
Finding Norcia sausages isn’t easy outside of Italy. So, of course, you can use any good quality Italian pork sausage. The dish will still taste fabulous. I would try to find Italian sausage without fennel but with garlic if possible, or rosemary.
Can you use truffle oil?
To be honest, rather than use truffle oil, I’d probably leave the truffle out. Although, you could try just a tiny amount of truffle oil or perhaps some truffle paste. However, even in Umbria, this dish is often served without truffle when they’re not available or out of season. I used frozen truffles as I’m lucky enough to source truffles from the area I live in and often freeze them for later use!
What are the other ingredients in pasta alla Norcina?
Apart from the sausage and truffles (if using them), this pasta alla Norcina recipe has very few ingredients. All you need is some fresh cream, grated pecorino, white wine and onion. The sauce doesn’t take long, so you can prepare it while boiling the water for, and cooking, the pasta. All in all not much work for a totally yummy plate of pasta that I’m sure will become a firm favourite before you’ve even finished the bowl!
If you make this recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Pasta alla Norcina; sausage pasta recipe
- 400g penne (14oz) or other short pasta
- 2-3 Italian pork sausages
- 1 onion white or yellow
- 1-2 black truffles I used 2 small ones (optional)
- 200 ml fresh cream (6-7floz)
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 50 g pecorino cheese (2oz) grated
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt for pasta and to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Remove the casing from the sausages and crumble the meat filling. Peel and chop the onion finely.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta, add salt and bring to the boil again.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it starts to soften then add the crumbled sausage meat.
- Brown the sausage, while stirring with a wooden spatula to prevent it from sticking. Pour in the wine. Allow the alcohol to evaporate while stirring. Lower the heat, cover, and finish cooking the sausage in its own juices for 10 minutes
- Uncover, taste and season with salt and pepper as required. Pour in the cream and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Add a few truffle shavings (if using) and half the pecorino. Reduce the sauce for 3–4 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover and set aside.
- Cook the pasta in the salted boiling water until al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Save some of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Add it to the pan with the sausage and cream sauce.
- Over a low heat, mix the pasta and sauce together– you can add a little pasta cooking water if it seems too thick
- Serve immediately with a generous sprinkling of grated pecorino, some freshly ground black pepper and truffle shavings .
If you like pasta with sausage you will love these other recipes..
- Tagliolini pasta alla Langarola with sausage, chicken liver and porcini ragu
- Bigoli pasta with Luganega sausage
- Sardinian Gnocchi –Malloreddus with sausage, tomatoes and saffron alla Campidanese
- Gramigna with sausage from Bologna
- Sausage and saffron pasta alla monzese from Lombardy
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If you are interested in learning how to make homemade pasta and different types of gnocchi, check out my shop page for some great video online courses from my friends in Rome! Nothing beats learning to make pasta from Italians! Plus while you’re there why not order a copy of one of my pasta recipe cookbooks or checkout some recommended pasta making tools?