Pasta alla norcina is an Italian (Umbrian) pasta in a cream and cheese sauce with sausage. There are different versions, some of which contain truffles, mushrooms, cured meats, etc. Thew recipe is super quick and easy to make, taking almost as much time to make the sauce as it takes to bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta in it. The sauce starts out by cooking the Italian style sausage (hot or mild), followed by the onions and garlic. The sausage used in norcina typically contains rosemary, and since the Italian style sausage available around here does not include it, I add rosemary to the sauce. Next up for the sauce is some white wine, cream and pecorino cheese which is seasoned with nutmeg and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. By the time the sauce is ready the pasta should be cooked and you toss the pasta with the sauce, optionally adding pasta water and truffles or truffle oil and enjoy!
Pasta alla Norcina
A quick and easy pasta in a creamy sauce with Italian sausage and pecorino cheese!
- 8 ounces of pasta, such as rigatoni (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried ground rosemary), chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
- 1 cup heavy cream (or ricotta)
- 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
- black pepper to taste
- Start cooking the pasta as directed on the package.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the sausage and cook, breaking it apart as it cooks.
- Add the onion to the sausage and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the wine (or broth) and deglaze the pan by scraping up any brown bits off of the bottom of the pan as the broth sizzles.
- Add the cream, mix and simmer for a minute.
- Turn off the heat, mix in the cheese and let it melt before seasoning with pepper to taste.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and enjoy!*
Option: Add a splash of lemon juice to the sauce at the end.
Option: Garnish with shaved truffles or truffle oil!
Option: Garnish with fresh chopped parsley!
Option: Replace the pecorino cheese with parmigiano.
Option: Add 8 ounces or fresh sliced mushrooms, or one ounce dried mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped.
Jeff the Chef says
cream, cheese, and sausage? Yes!
jacques eone says
Pasta? It’s my favorite.
It looks delicious.
Caitlin | CC's Table says
This looks like the ultimate pasta dish! Totally trying this out! Thanks for the great recipe 🙂
nice, seems like a creamy ragu, and I love ragu, and both are a welcome change from Sicilian or Neopolitan dishes which are also great in their time and place until I get saturated with tomato sauce, thank you!
Ingredient list and the article on the pinterest page don’t mention red pepper flakes. The recipe mentions red pepper flakes as a step however and one of the pictures shows them. We added them because they add to the flavor profile. I suggest a good quality Italian sausage. We used a dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, but Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio would work or even a Zinfandel) Dinner was excellent and we will make it again.
I’m glad you like it! I like to include the red pepper flakes but they can be omitted. (I cleaned up the recipe to include them as optional!)
This is absolutely delicious!! Very easy and few ingredients. I used ricotta and lots of red pepper flakes. I also increased the garlic from two cloves to a whole bulb. We love garlic. We also used Primo hot Italian sausage. I couldn’t believe how fantastic it tasted. I would make this for company or large gathering. Thanks so much for this recipe.
I can’t wait to try this, I looks and sounds amazing! I saw that you had as an alternative to the heavy cream you could use ricotta, do you use the same amount? Could you also use fat free half & half? Or a mix of the ricotta and FF half & half?
If using ricotta, use the same amount, the sauce will be a little thicker. You can use half and half or a combination of it and ricotta. If you replace the cream with something lighter, like half and half (or milk), reduce the temperature and don’t bring it to a boil; the fat in heavy cream allows it to be cooked at a higher temperature. Enjoy!
Omg, this was great! More of a hearty Fall / Winter dinner, but I just recently came across it and had to try it. I added a little grated mozzarella as a compliment…
Katie Talbott says
This is the one of the best dishes I’ve ever made! I made it with white wine instead of chicken broth, and I added a little more than a pinch of red pepper flakes. Absolutely delicious! And seriously easy…