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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Pasta alla Norcina

This recipe follows a recent episode I watched on America's Test Kitchen. I knew as soon as I saw them making it I'd want to try my hand at it using some fresh ground pastured pork from Sunny Cedars Farm. 

I did not make it exactly as they did, but added my own twist to it, which I think simplifies the process because you are making a mild sausage out of the fresh ground pork.

1 lb. ground pastured pork
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tbls. olive oil
5 oz. fresh button mushrooms, 2 oz. petite diced and 3 oz. sliced
2-3 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup white wine
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbls. fresh minced parsley
16 oz. pasta of your choice (I used garlic parsley pasta noodles)

In a small bowl dissolve salt and baking soda in 4 tsp. water. Add ground pork and and fold to combine; let sit 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes add garlic, sage, black pepper, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes to ground pork and completely combine; set aside.

In a large sauce pan, add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add 2 oz. petite diced mushrooms and saute until browned. Stir in ground pork mixture and cook until pork is no longer pink. Add 3 oz. sliced mushrooms, white wine and heavy cream and heat until simmering. Stir in Parmesan cheese and parsley and continue simmering 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed (I added a tiny bit more red pepper flakes). 

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain pasta, return to pan and ladle small amounts of sauce over pasta, stirring to combine until the consistency is how you like it (you may not use all the sauce). Top with more grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield:  4 servings