Pasta alla Norcina

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This deeply comforting pasta alla Norcina recipe is Italian comfort food at its finest – a rich, sausage and cream based sauce, given a little zing thanks to the addition of white wine and plenty of Pecorino Romano. The Umbrian town of Norcina is famed for its pork products, so it's no wonder that its most famous dish makes use of some of the best sausages in Italy.

First published in 2018

Hailing from the Umbrian town of Norcia – a place known for its excellent cured meats and pork-based charcuterie – this hearty pasta dish is a common sight on the menu of many local restaurants and trattorie dotting the area.

The ingredients for the pasta sauce are few and simple: good pork sausage, cream, and a generous dose of grated pecorino, all stirred together in a sugo in bianco – without tomato sauce – that is far more than the sum of its parts.

Some versions of this classic recipe extend the ingredient list to include grated black truffle, which abounds in Umbria. Feel free to shave some on your pasta at the end if you like it and have it to hand. I would, however, dissuade you from using truffle oil: its pungency will likely throw off the delicate flavour balance of this dish.




Pasta alla Norcina

  • 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 400g of Italian pork sausage, crumbled
  • 150ml of dry white wine
  • 200ml of single cream
  • 400g of short pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
  • 50g of Pecorino Romano, grated
  • fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil
Meanwhile, heat the oil and the garlic in a large frying pan set over a medium heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking and the garlic is fragrant, add the crumbled sausage
Brown the sausage, stirring and scraping all the while with a wooden spatula to prevent it from sticking and burning
Next, remove the garlic and pour in the wine. Allow it to evaporate while carrying on scraping the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat, cover, and finish cooking the sausage in its own juices for 10 minutes
Uncover, taste and season. Pour in the cream and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Reduce it for 3–4 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover and set aside
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and add to the pan with the sausage and cream sauce. Place the pan over a low flame and toss the pasta to evenly coat it with sauce – you can let the sauce down with a little pasta water if you see it is getting too thick
Top the plated pasta with a generous dusting of grated pecorino and some freshly ground black pepper before serving

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