Sunday, October 23, 2022

Sip and Feast: Pasta alla Norcina and Serious Eats: Salsiccia di Norcia (Norcia Sausage)

I really can't stop myself from purchasing a small black truffle whenever I see them for sale.  I never know what I'm actually going to use them for (and honestly, I can default to just making the most fabulous scrambled eggs ever), but I can't stop myself.  This time I actually had a plan.  I'm a big lover of creamy pastas, and when I saw this one is traditionally topped with grated truffle, I knew I had to make it.  Definitely rich and filling, but oh so good.

Note: I used trecce pasta because it looked cool and was still tubular in form.  The sausage was super easy to make, but I think this would taste just as good with regular Italian sausage if you don't want to deal with the extra steps.

Pasta alla Norcina
Adapted from Sip and Feast blog

Salsiccia di Norcia (recipe below)
¼ cup olive oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
1½ cups heavy cream
1 pound rigatoni or other tubular pasta
1 to 2 cups reserved pasta water
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Finely grated black truffle, for serving (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Heat a large pan over medium heat, then add in the olive oil and sausage mixture. Brown the sausage, about 5 to 7 minutes, then make some room in the pan and add the mushrooms and continue to cook until they brown as well.

Once the sausage and mushrooms are brown, add the onion and garlic. Continue cooking for a few more minutes until the onions are soft. Turn heat to medium-high and add the wine. Cook for a minute to reduce the wine by about half. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove all the brown bits. At this time begin cooking the pasta to a bit less than al dente.

Add the cream and bring sauce to a simmer while stirring. Once simmering, turn the heat down to low.

Once pasta is almost al dente, add it to the sauce and mix to coat. Turn heat to medium. Add a bit of pasta water if needed to loosen things up. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pasta is perfectly al dente.

Turn the heat off and remove the pan from the heat. Add the Pecorino, mix well, then taste test. Season with a good amount of black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, and salt to taste. Serve with grated Pecorino and grated black truffle.

Makes 6 servings

Salsiccia di Norcia (Norcia Sausage)

16 ounces ground pork, chilled
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dry white wine, chilled

In a medium bowl, combine pork, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir with a wooden spoon to evenly distribute seasoning. Add chilled wine and stir vigorously with wooden spoon, working meat mixture against bottom and sides of bowl, until wine is incorporated and mixture becomes tacky and sticky, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Alternatively, combine pork, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until seasonings are evenly incorporated, about 1 minute. Add wine, increase speed to medium, and mix until wine is incorporated and mixture becomes tacky and sticky, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

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