Every Sunday we take the day off and travel around Umbria by car, sometimes to visit local antique markets, other times to take a leisurely drive through the mountains, and often we even plan our day’s activities around where we’d like to eat lunch. Recently we visited the antique market in Pissignano, then headed off to Trevi for lunch at Osteria La Vecchia Posta. We hadn’t visited this restaurant for a number of years, and we wanted to see if it was as good as we remembered. We enjoyed a lovely meal, and I found the menu really intriguing as they featured many Umbrian dishes but added their own little twist. One of the dishes I knew I wanted to replicate at home was their Pasta alla Norcina which included sausage and cream as most Norcina pasta dishes do, but Vecchia Posta added fresh diced tomatoes to their version as well, and it looked delicious. I guess you could say it was sort of a Pasta alla Norcina Rosso dish.
We recently pulled the last of the tomatoes from our garden so I had a big bowl of plump, ripe plum tomatoes to use up which were perfect for this dish. I added four links of homemade sausage, and a cup of heavy cream and created my own version of this delicious pasta. I ended up cooking my tomatoes more than they did at Vecchia Posta, but I loved how my pasta turned out and wouldn’t change it in any way. For the best result, use very ripe plum tomatoes, and if not available choose a good quality canned chopped tomato imported from Italy. I used an artisan pasta shape called paccheri that are large hollow tubes, but any short pasta would work well in this recipe.
Deborah Mele 2012
Pasta alla Norcina Rosso
The addition of fresh, diced plum tomatoes takes this traditional Umbrian dish to a whole new level.
- 6 Large Plum Tomatoes (Or 1 1/2 Cups Chopped From A Can)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Cup Finely Diced Onion
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
- 4 Italian Sausage Links, Removed From The Casings
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
- 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1 Pound Dried Pasta
- Grated Pecorino Cheese
- Heat a pot of water to boil, and cut an X on the stem end of each of the tomatoes.
- Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute.
- Drain the tomatoes and drop into a bowl of ice water.
- Use a sharp knife to peel the skin off of the tomatoes and carefully cut out the core.
- Use your fingers to gently squeeze the tomatoes over the sink to remove most of the seeds.
- Cut the tomatoes into a medium dice and set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and then cook the onions until tender.
- Add the sausage meat and cook until lightly browned, breaking up the meat with two forks as it cooks.
- Next add the garlic and cook another minute or two until fragrant.
- Add the diced tomato, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook for 10 minutes on low heat.
- Bring a pasta pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions for “al dente” pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, pour the cream into the tomato sauce and mix well, then cook over low heat until thickened.
- Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce and chopped parsley.
- Serve immediately, passing grated cheese at the table.