I record America’s Test Kitchen on our local public broadcasting station OPB each Saturday and often find something that looks tasty. I also subscribe to the America’s Test Kitchen magazines Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated. I made note of this recipe last year sometime and then caught a rerun recently; so I figured I’d better try it. You can find my version of the recipe here; or try it on the free site here (note that you’ll have to create a free account to view it on the ATK site).
One thing that drew me to this recipe was the sausage prep; rather than going with Italian sausage, which has too much fennel, we make our own from a little ground pork, rosemary, garlic, and pepper. Before mixing the ingredients we brine the pork in saltwater with a little baking soda added to adjust the pH.
We finely chop the mushrooms in a food processor. The recipe calls for 12 pulses; I found that 8 was probably one or possibly two too many. But it didn’t affect the flavor!
Now it was time to build the dish. First step was to press the sausage into a 6″ disk and fry it just enough to brown the outside but not enough to cook it all the way through – that would happen later.
Pul the patty out of the pan and cut it into small chunks, put in a bowl with 3/4 cup heavy cream (I said it was tasty; not that it was diet!). While that is melding, start the pasta water. Then drain the excess fat from the pan, add just a touch back and brown the mushrooms. At the end of the browning, add some more rosemary, garlic, and pepper; deglaze the pan with some dry white wine – I used Pinot Gris – and simmer until it has all cooked out. Add the pork/cream mixture and some reserved pasta water.
Pour the cream sauce over the pasta and mix in a little parsley and lemon juice to brighten it.
The side dish is beets with lemon and almonds – another ATK dish you can find on their site – and/or look at the recipe here.
It would have been five stars but I had some trouble with the oriecchiette pasta; it is shaped like little bowls and many of them stayed stacked together so they didn’t all cook properly. You can see a stack on the right side at 3:00 in the picture above. I’ll make sure to separate the disks before cooking next time; if that doesn’t work, we’ll go with another pasta style.
A note on the photos.
I’ve been trying different lighting schemes lately including two flashes. For this set of pictures I went with natural light, ISO 200; I mounted the camera on a tripod to adjust for the long exposure times.
2 thoughts on “Pasta Alla Norcina”
Looks yummy, Howard! I love the camera tips too. If I included them in my posts it would be something like: “I pointed my iPhone at the item, and pressed the picture button.” Which might explain how bad some of my pics are ;-). The beets looks great too.
Thanks, Misha! I need to make this again!