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Pasta alla Norcina (Pasta with Sausages & Cream)
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
8 ounces sweet or hot sausage meat (homemade sausage recipe follows)
salt & pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
small handful of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 pound short pasta of your choice - penne or rigatoni are traditional
Shave truffles for garnish (when in season)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add a few glugs of olive oil (a couple of tablespoons) to a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallot and gently sweat, stirring, until clear and just beginning to turn golden. Remove shallots from the oil and discard. (They are just to flavor the oil.)
Add chopped carrot and sweat (still over medium-low heat) for a minute or two.
Add in the sausage meat. Raise the heat to medium and, with the back of a large fork, break the meat up as it cooks.
When no pink remains in the meat, add the cream, lower the heat, and let it reduce by half. Give it a taste and check the seasonings adjusting by adding salt and pepper, if needed.
Shut off the heat until your pasta is ready. Then on low heat, bring your sauce back up.
Drain the cooked pasta from the water and place directly into pan. (Do NOT discard your pasta water).
Over low heat, mix the pasta together with the sauce and a handful of cheese, adding a little pasta water if needed. Give it a taste and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
(If you are able to find truffles, shave over the top just before serving or at the table.)
Homemade Italian Sausage
1 pound ground pork – not too lean
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoons toasted fennel seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
2 teaspoons freshly chopped Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon dry red wine
Mix all ingredients together until the spices and herbs are evenly distributed. You will need half of this amount for the Pasta alla Norcina recipe.
Makes 1 pound.