Pasta alla Norcina; sausage pasta recipe from Umbria
Pasta alla Norcina con tartufo
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.
(scroll down for recipe)
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.
Other types of sausage.
Of course, finding Norcia sausages isn’t easy outside of Italy. So, you can use any good quality Italian pork sausage. The dish will still taste fabulous. I would try to find sausage without fennel but with garlic if possible, or rosemary. The same goes for black truffle. Rather than use truffle oil, it’s probably better to leave the truffle out. 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!
Apart from the sausage and truffles (if using them), this 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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This sausage and cream pasta recipe is a very simple to make and has very few ingredients but it's so flavourful and creamy you’ll want to make it part of your regular pasta menu.
- 400g penne 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
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 50 g pecorino cheese 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 .
Traditionally this recipe is served with short pasta such as penne or rigatoni. I used Italian maccheroni.
The original recipe made with Norcia sausage but a good Italian pork sausage would work well too. I would try to find sausage without fennel but with garlic if possible, or rosemary.
Black truffles are often added when they are in season but this dish is often made without. Truffle oil isn't a good substitute in this recipe as it will smother the other flavours.
If you like pasta with sausage you might enjoy 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