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  • Writer's pictureHayley Marcus

Pasta Norcina

We all know this past year and a half has been a wild ride, but the ripple effects are worse. Last week one of my childhood restaurants closed its doors in Greenwich Village, NYC. Volares was our weekly stomping grounds, and every special occasion was celebrated here. It was a hole in the wall (or technically basement) with the most delicious Italian food there was. I still say the BEST mozzarella sticks I have ever had in my life were from Volares. I still literally dream about them if I am honest. I don’t think I ever saw a menu, but knew my order before I walked in the door. This recipe was the one pasta dish I ordered almost every time I went, and as delish as it is, doesn’t even do justice to the original. It is decadent and one of the most comforting meals you will ever eat.


1 pound pasta of your choosing (I personally like fusilli)

2 shallots minced

4 garlic cloves minced (I use the micro-plane so the garlic melts into the sauce, amazon link at the end)

1 8 oz package of cremini mushrooms (minced)

1 pound sweet Italian sausage (cases removed, I use Premio if not getting it from the butcher)

1 cup white wine (please use one that you would drink and not one from the grocery store shelf)

1.5 cups heavy cream

¼ cup pecorino romano cheese (I use Locatelli brand specifically, but you can also use Parmesano Reggiano)

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup pasta water

Red Pepper Flakes




Take about 10-15 minutes to chop all produce. You are going to want to have everything cut and ready before you turn on a burner.

In a large sauce pan, cook pasta according to package (or to your heart’s desire…I never use the package timing)

In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Once oil is glistening and moves around the pan with ease, add the sausage to the pan evenly. Cook undisturbed for 6-7 minutes. Use a spatula, spoon, or fork to break up the sausage into bite sized pieces and continue to cook until no longer pink (another 5-6 minutes at least). Add the shallots and mushrooms to the pan. Cook until shallots and mushrooms have softened (3-4 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Salt and pepper the mixture to taste.

Add the wine to the pan to get all of those yummy browned bits off the bottom of the pan (AKA all the flavor). Let reduce for 3-4 minutes or until the wine no longer smells like alcohol. Lower the heat to medium-low to medium (depending on your stove, I trust you). Add the heavy cream and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens and clings to the mixture.

Add your pasta, pasta water, butter and cheese to the pan. Stir until everything is combined and the sauce is velvety smooth. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.

Serve (bowl is my preference) and garnish with parsley and a dash more cheese. Enjoy!

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