Creamy Pasta alla Norcina (Gluten-Free Option)

Indulge in a classic Italian dish with a twist – our creamy Pasta alla Norcina, perfectly tailored for both traditional and gluten-free preferences. This savory dish combines the heartiness of Italian sausage with the smoothness of a light cream sauce, all tossed with your favorite pasta for a comforting meal. Here’s how to make it.


  • 8 ounces of rigatoni pasta (use gluten-free pasta for a gluten-free version)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional, adjust to taste)
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half for a lighter option
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
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  1. Prepare the Pasta: Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. If using gluten-free pasta, ensure the water is well-salted and follow the cooking time closely to avoid overcooking. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water for later, and set aside.
  2. Cook the Sausage: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the Italian sausage, breaking it apart with a spoon. Cook until browned and cooked through. Transfer the cooked sausage to a plate and set aside, leaving the rendered fat in the skillet.
  3. Sauté the Onion: In the same skillet with the sausage fat, add the diced onion and red pepper flakes (if using). Sauté until the onion is translucent and slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  4. Combine Sausage and Onion: Return the cooked sausage to the skillet with the onions. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 2 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  5. Add Cream: Lower the heat to medium-low, and stir in the heavy cream or half-and-half. Allow the mixture to simmer gently until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little reserved pasta water until you reach your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Toss with Pasta: Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the sausage and cream sauce. Toss well to ensure the pasta is evenly coated. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water, a little at a time, until you achieve a creamy consistency.
  7. Serve: Transfer the Pasta alla Norcina to serving dishes. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley. Serve hot and enjoy a comforting, flavorful meal that brings a piece of Italy to your table.

This Creamy Pasta alla Norcina is a wonderful blend of flavors and textures, sure to satisfy your cravings for a hearty, Italian-inspired meal. Buon appetito!