Penne Alla Norcina

Cristian and I went to Italy for his high school graduation trip.  Among the many great things we discovered was this dish.  We discovered it in Spoleto and I think he ordered it at every stop thereafter.  I’ll admit I ordered it a few times as well.  The flavors are simply unlike anything we have here in the U.S.  Now I think a large part of that is the use of Umbrian sausages.  Still, this recipe, made with a mild Italian sausage is a passable replica.  It’s delicious!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. Penne Pasta
  • 1 medium Spanish onion, sliced very thin (yellow onion will substitute)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 sweet pork sausages (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated black truffle or 2 tablespoons prepared truffle paste or sauce (truffle cream will substitute)
  • 2 cups grated pecorino cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Boil penne in salted water until a little firmer than al dente and drain.
  2. In a pan large enough to hold all of the cooked pasta, slowly cook the onion in the olive oil over low heat, stirring, for 15 minutes or until the onion is soft, translucent and slightly golden.
  3. Remove the meat from the sausage casings, crumble into small pieces, and add to onion and oil. Turn heat up slightly. Cook, stirring, until meat is almost completely cooked through.
  4. Add white wine, turn up heat to medium and cook until wine boils off.
  5. Add cream and turn heat up to medium-high. Cook down cream for a few minutes, until it starts to thicken. Add cooked penne and combine.
  6. Pour penne and sauce into a bowl. Add grated truffle and toss with 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese. Check and correct salt and pepper. Serve, providing additional grated pecorino cheese on the side.
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