Pasta alla Norcina

~ Pasta alla Norcina ~

The commune of Norcia lies in the southeast corner of Umbria.   Unlike many similar towns that are perched on hilltops, Norcia lies in a plain.  But the town is known primarily for one thing; hunting wild boar.  As a result, Pasta alla Norcina is created from the beauty of these cinghiale hunts.

Pork products are everywhere in Norcia and the town gives its name to this wonderful recipe.  Pasta alla Norcina is simple and quick to make.  Yet it still provides a bit of decadence that is comforting and delicious.  It’s quickly become a favorite.

Pasta alla Norcina

~ St. Benedicts Church on the main Piazza in Norcia ~

Like many Italian dishes, there are often as many variations locally as there grandmothers.  Some use garlic. Some include mushrooms.  For this Recipe, I eschewed both.  But executing this dish does require three critical ingredients;  Pork Sausage, Cream and nutmeg.

Pasta alla Norcina


1 pound Rigatoni pasta
1 pound sweet Italian Pork Sausage
1/4 sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
2 garlic cloves
Pinch nutmeg
Heavy Cream
Reserved Pasta Water
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a pan large enough to hold the finished pasta, cook the onions in some extra virgin olive oil until softened.  Add the crumbled sausage and cook through.  Meanwhile, start your pasta water.

Pasta alla Norcina

~ Looks like I used garlic after all… Ha!  Fattoi voi ~

Take time to brown the sausage slightly. You don’t want it burned, but do make sure you evaporate all of the water in the pan. About 10-12 minutes over medium to medium high heat.

A few minutes before the pasta is al dente, add the heavy cream to the pan with the sausage.  You want the dish to be creamy, so I’d estimate I used about 10-12 ounces of heavy cream.


Pasta alla Norcina

~ This is the cream about 2-3 minutes after being added to the dish. You can see how quickly it picks up color ~

Before draining the pasta to the pan, add a pinch of nutmeg.  This is a key ingredient here so don’t skip it. Whenever cream is used (in ravioli filling, in bechamella)  you always use nutmeg.  It provides a unique “lift” to the dish.

~ Creamy goodness. Toss the pasta into the pan and stir to coat. If it seems too tight, use a little of the reserved pasta water or add a bit more cream ~

Finally, as you plate, hit the dish with some flat parsley or fresh basil.  Pass pecorino at the table.

The wine pairing here is very easy; this is a versatile dish.  I had a wonderful Carmignano I was eager to try.  I brought the wines of the Pierazzuoli family to you back in 2020.  The brothers Enrico and Dario Pierazzuoli do an amazing job in an oft forgotten DOCG.  Those who do forget Carmignano are missing out.

The Le Farnete estate has been in the Pierazzuoli family since 1990. Although the estate covers a total of 100 acres, only a scant 11 are under vine. Devoted mostly to Sangiovese and Cabernet for the production of Carmignano, the vines bearing fruit now range in age from 10-40 years old.

~ Winemaker Enrico Pierazzuoli ~

The 2020 Le Farnete Carmignano Riserva is consistently delicious.  A blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet, the fruit for this wine is sourced from the estate’s oldest vineyard plots. The wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks before being barrique aged for at least 12 months prior to release. Average production when the wine is released is 7,000 bottles.

In the glass,  the wine is  deep plum to violet color.  Aromas of blue flowers, black plum, black cherry and toasted spices are wonderfully aromatic.  In the mouth, the wine is classy and elegant. Medium to full bodied dark fruit flavors are joined by fresh, sweet herb, toasted tobacco and spice notes.  This is approachable now and was amazing with the pasta.  Not yet released but be ready when it is.  93 points.  Bravo!  Find this wine.

~ Carmignano is such a gorgeous wine when crafted properly and the Pierazzuoli brothers do a wonderful job ~

Stay tuned for more new articles coming – including more data points on the Pierazzuoli portfolio along with 2019 Brunello and a feature on the wines of La Magia.


I agree to have my personal information transfered to AWeber ( more information )
Looking for even more wine tasting notes, recipes, news, and insider info not found anywhere else? Sign up for the Tuscan Vines newsletter.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.