Pasta alla Norcina (creamy sausage pasta) recipe

The nutmeg is key; don’t leave it out - Haarala Hamilton
The nutmeg is key; don’t leave it out - Haarala Hamilton

A dish from the town of Norcia in Umbria. It’s nice to use Italian sausages for this but avoid ones spiced with fennel and chilli; milder ones are better. Or you can just use whatever British sausages you like. I sometimes add lentils – I cook them separately – as they are a speciality of Norcia.

I don’t make many pasta dishes with cream – though I do love fettuccine Alfredo – but it’s the easiest way to turn a staple into a luxury. The nutmeg is key; don’t leave it out.


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes




  • 400g good-quality sausages

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped

  • 125ml dry white wine

  • 240ml double cream

  • a generous grating of nutmeg

  • 45g pecorino, grated, plus more to serve

  • 400g rigatoni


1. Remove the casings from the sausages and break the sausage meat into chunks.

2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and fry the sausage meat, getting a good colour all over it. Break some pieces up with a wooden spoon. Season.

3. Push the sausage to one side of the pan and add the onion to the other. Cook on a lower heat until the onion is soft. Add the wine and stir everything together, heating until the wine has reduced by half, then add the cream and reduce by about two thirds. Add the nutmeg and pecorino.

4. Cook the rigatoni in boiling, lightly salted water until it’s al dente. Drain – retaining the cooking water – and add the pasta to the sauce in the sauté pan. Turn everything over and gradually add enough of the cooking water to create a glossy sauce that clings to the pasta. Check for seasoning and serve with more pecorino.