Rigatoni alla Norcina

Rigatoni alla Norcina

Apologies for the lighting in the pic. One of my overheads is being tempermental of late, so I had to rely solely on the light over the stove. Bleh.

I had to do this recipe. Had to. Seriously.

If you haven’t figured out, I’m a bit of a pasta freak. For me, pasta is perfection. It’s magic. Who would guess that water, flour, salt and egg can be altered so that it forms this solid object that holds sauce so well.

So when researching Umbrian recipes, I came across this one below, and had to alter my unwritten rule of three recipes per region (I also try to do a dessert and at least mention wine).

The meal was not bad. Think carbonarra made with sausage in addition to panchetta. The trick here is what kind of sausage. I used a mild Italian sausage from Larry’s, but I have to admit to feeling a bit guilty about it. “Italian” sausage can mean anything. In truth, I have no idea if the Italian sausage found in most American supermarkets is even “Italian” let alone “Umbrian”. I’ll never truly know until I’m able to make it to Italy.

The recipe is still worth trying. Easy to make (less than 30 minutes from pouring the water into the stock pot to plating the dish), it fits quite nicely into a weekday menu.

Onto the recipe:

  • 1 lb. rigatoni
  • 3/4 lb. Mild ground Italian Sausage
  • 3 strips panchetta, diced (smoked bacon will do if panchetta cannot be found…but really, try to find panchetta)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (Pecorino will also work)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Italian Parsley. shredded

In a stock pan, bring your pasta water to a boil. Before putting the rigatoni into the water, place a large skillet over medium high heat and allow to become hot.

Add Rigatoni to boiling water and cook according to directions on box.

While rigatoni is cooking, add panchetta and sausage to skillet. Brown thoroughly (5-7 minutes). Do NOT drain any excessive pork fat. Pepper the meat to taste. Add cheese and cream and mix in well, lowering heat of skillet to low. Cook, stirring regularly, until pasta is done.

Drain pasta and place in a warm serving bowl. Dress with olive oil. Pour sauce over top of pasta and fold in well with a spatula.

Plate and top with Italian Parsley and cheese (to taste).

Serves 6-8

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