This simple pasta dish became the culinary highlight of a recent summer vacation in the Umbria region of Italy. Made with the regional pork sausage and the area's famed black truffles, it can be found in most of the fine restaurants in hill towns such as Todi and Assisi. The sausage is not available here, but a good approximation of the links can be created with ground pork and sweet Italian sausage.
Carol Mighton Haddix writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.
Umbrian Pasta With Pork and Truffle Sauce
Makes 8 servings -- Total time: 35 minutes
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 red onion, chopped
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 tablespoon truffle paste (see note) or 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked 30 minutes, chopped
1 cup whipping cream or half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 package (16 ounces) strangozzi pasta or pennette
Heat a large stockpot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and sausage. Cook, stirring, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes; remove to platter.
Add onion; cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth; cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in truffle paste and cream. Lower heat to medium. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked meat to the skillet; stir in salt and pepper. Taste; add more truffle paste, if needed.
Meanwhile, add pasta to boiling water; cook according to package directions. Drain. Place in large pasta bowl; add sauce. Toss to coat.
Note: Look for truffle products and strangozzi pasta at Italian and specialty markets.
Per serving: 472 calories, 21 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 49 grams carbohydrate, 20 grams protein, 487 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber