Thursday, January 31, 2013

Recipe ~ Pici alla Norcina

Pici all Norcina
Pork + Truffles + Cream = Heaven

The ancient town of Norcia, Italy is credited as being the pork capital of Italy. A "norcineria" is a shop that specializes in the curing, butchering and sale of pork which is where this recipe derives its name.

I think hearty and savory Norcina is delightful atop any pasta, although I first experienced it in Tuscany on fresh pici (above) so that's how I discovered it best.

When the tastes of pork, truffle and cream combine, you have this unforgettable dish. Get ready for your "taste bud takeoff!"

~ ~ ~  PICI alla NORCINA ~ ~ ~

Ingredients:
handful (6-8) | porcini, rough chopped
| sausages, removed from the casing and crumbled
4 tablespoons | evoo
1/2 cup | broth (mushroom, vegetable or beef)
| cage free eggs
to taste | nutmeg, freshly grated
to taste | gray salt
to taste | black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup | parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated
1 cup | pecorino, freshly grated
1 pound | fresh pici pasta, al dente*
1 cup | heavy cream, the more cream the merrier
1-2 | truffles, freshly grated*
to serve | basil, freshly torn*
to serve | black pepper, freshly ground

What To Do:

1. Rough chop the porcini. If you're using dried porcini, reconstitute them according to their directions, "pat" them dry, chop and set aside.

2. In a large pan over medium heat, brown the crumbled sausage in olive oil.

3. Add the broth and the porcini, stirring frequently. Return heat to low, cover and keep warm.

4. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and combine well.

5. Now add the cheeses to the egg mixture and combine well. Keep on warm.

6. Prepare your al dente pasta. Add it to the porcini sauce and combine well.

7. Remove the pasta mixture from heat and fold-in the egg and cheese mixture.

8. Add the cream and combine well.

9. Add the freshly grated truffles and combine again.

10. To serve, transfer to a serving bowl and top with fresh basil, black pepper and more cheese, if desired.

Serve warm

*Tips:

1. If you cannot find fresh truffles in your neck of the woods, try substituting 3-4 tablespoons of truffle paste, available at higher-end stores or online.

2. The ingredients for making pici are few. The true art occurs when shaping the pasta which requires lots of rolling and twisting by hand. Why not make your own art with this homemade pici recipe?

caserecce pasta with norcnia sauce
3. Always a sucker for a new pasta form, I tried the norcina sauce on the twisty, tubular "caserecce" pasta, shown here.

4. Remember to tear your basil by hand versus cutting it with a knife. This prevents oxidation of the basil (blackening of the leaves by the cut).

More of our favorite recipes here.

for the love of : italy

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