(related to this note…)
Norcia, in the mountains of southeastern Umbria, is noted for its salsicce (sausages), prosciutto, capocollo, salame, and other pork derivatives. In the 9th century, the Lombards then occupying the region learned to preserve pig meat with salt; hence, a pig butcher anywhere in Italy is called a norcino.
Ingredients: (for 4)
1 lb penne or rigatoni pasta (Ed.’s note – In the image below, orecchiette are used. “The horror, the horror,” I know… sometimes though, you just have to use the pasta that you have sitting round.)
3-4 Umbrian (and ONLY Umbrian!) sausages – (and if not attainable, use about 1/2 lb ground pork meat, adding one finely-chopped garlic clove, salt and pepper to it for taste. No fennel seeds or red pepper in Umbrian salsicce.)
1 white onion
white wine (about 1 cup or so)
small hot red pepper
1 – 1-1/2 c. cream
Parmigiano cheese, freshly-grated (or use pecorino, sheep’s milk cheese… very Umbrian!)
Finely slice the white onion. Cover bottom of saucepan in olive oil and sauté onion until golden (do NOT burn – and if you do, start over, or entire pasta will taste like burnt onion…!). Take sausage meat out of casing and crumble into onion/olive oil mixture. Add chili pepper. Simmer a couple of minutes until sausage (or pork meat) starts to brown. Add white wine, covering the meat. Simmer uncovered a few minutes (wine will start to evaporate). Add cream and simmer briefly. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
Stir into pasta which you have cooked and drained (always save a bit of the pasta water when draining pasta: it can be used to dilute your sauce if needed). Pasta mixture should be creamy – if too dry, add a bit of olive oil (and next time, use more cream – or white wine – when preparing).
Add the Parmigiano (or pecorino) on top before serving.