Norcia is a marvelous medieval town in Southeastern Umbria, blessed by fresh mountain air and by the breeding of pigs. Already in the IX century the delicious animal represented a main source of income for the locals. One can modestly say that they have a long standing expertise in making the best sausages of the world. This simple and hearty sauce is available in most restaurants in Umbria and prepared regularly in Umbrian home kitchens.
- 600 g (1 and 1/3 lb) sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1/2 onion finely sliced
- 4 tablespoon heavy cream or whipping cream or ricotta
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 pound short pasta like fusilli or penne or homemade strozzapreti or stringozzi
- 4 tablespoon grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
- cracked or grated black pepper to taste
- Optional: 1 teaspoon grated truffle or preserved truffle paste
Sauté onion and sausage in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up large pieces with a fork, about 10 minutes. Deglaze with 1/2 cup white wine. Add cream and set aside.
Umbrian fresh sausages are liberally seasoned with black pepper and garlic. If you can’t find a similar sausage, add 2 cloves of minced garlic to 2 tablespoon of olive oil, sautee briefly or microwave to infuse then add to the sauce before deglazing. Also, add additional black pepper just before serving.
Cook the pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Transfer into the saucepan pot with the sausage and cream mixture, stir quickly, then add the cooking water and grated cheese and stir some more to coat and absorb the excess liquid. Add truffle if using and serve immediately with additional grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper to taste.