Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My take on Malfatti al Maialino

So I got this beautiful piece of pork from Brunty Farms and wanted to incorporate it into a dish that would showcase it's lovely flavor.  Yes, I could have made some carnitas or pulled pork with it but you know me...  So I got to thinking about the some of my favorite restaurant meals and  immediately, the Malfatti al Maialino came to mind.

You've heard me talk about Maialino before when I made this.  It is a fantastic restaurant in NYC owned by Danny Meyer.  He actually spoke at my company's conference last year and I was literally star struck when I met him.  His book Setting the Table really hits home by setting the tone that your employees come first, not the customer.  My company shares this philosophy.  Happy employees provide great service.  Great service creates loyal customers.  Loyal customers bring repeat business and referrals.  And it all comes full circle from there.

While this dish is not an exact replica of the original, it is pretty darn close.  Cooking a nice cut of pork low and slow made for the tastiest and tender meat.  If you've never made homemade pasta before, this a great starter recipe because it calls for an imperfect noodle.  It definitely takes some work so plan ahead and read the entire recipe before you start so you can get the timing just right.

Season the meat generously with the rub

Brown it on all sides. Those brown bits will add TONS of flavor!

Prepare the vegetables.  No need to take too much time with this.  They are all going to be strained out later.  It's even alright if you leave the skins on.

See... I didn't peel the carrots.

Some of the fresh herbs.

Just throw them all in the pot.

Next, add the stock.

And finally the bay leaves and fennel seed.  Cook in the oven at 250 degrees for about 5-6 hours, covered.  The meat will be falling off the bone and very tender.

Right after I pulled it out of the oven.

Seriously.  Just look at that piece of pork.  It is delicious just like this.  But wait... it gets better.

Remove the vegetables from broth.

Then strain through some cheese cloth or a nut milk bag.  Yes.  I just said "nut milk bag".  It's a real thing, I promise.

Put that liquid back on the stove, crank the heat up and reduce for 30-40 minutes; about three-fourths.

Time to make the pasta.  You've seen me do this before.

Gradually mix the eggs and bring down the flour on the sides with a rubber spatula.

Keep it going until a ball forms.  Sometimes I have to go in with my hands and knead a little bit in the bowl to get all of the last pesky pieces of flour.

Knead with dough hook for another 10 minutes.  Saran wrap it up and let it rest in the fridge for at least twenty minutes.

This is how I grate my cheese when I'm not using a microplane.

Perfectly coarse texture. You won't need all this cheese but I like to have more on hand.

Time to roll out the pasta.

Feed it through the machine.

The more irregular the shapes, the better.

Time to finish the sauce.  Add the butter and crème fraîche.  

And a touch of lemon.

Separate the meat.

And boil the pasta.  Time to plate up!

My take on Malfatti al Maialino

1 3-4 pound pork shoulder, bone-in and skin-on
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried rosemary, dried thyme and ground sage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
10 cloves of garlic, smashed
6 large carrots, roughly chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 handful of flat leaf Italian parsley
6 sage leaves
6 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs of rosemary
6 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fennel seed
7 cups of beef stock

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Preheat dutch oven over medium high heat.  Mix salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary, thyme and ground sage in a small bowl and rub liberally all over the meat.  Add oil to the preheated pot then brown pork on all sides.

Once meat is brown remove from heat and add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and fennel seed.  Pour in stock and cover pan.  Place in oven and cook for 5-6 hours.

Remove pork from oven and let cool for about an hour in the juices.

Homemade Pasta 
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
generous pinch of salt and pepper

Place the flour in the mixer and form a well.  Add eggs and yolk then turn on mixer with dough hook attachment.  With a rubber spatula, gradually bring down flour on the sides to the middle. Keep mixing until all of the flour is incorporated.  You may need to turn off mixer and knead in the bowl with your hands.  Once ball is formed, run mixer on medium high for 10 minutes to knead.  

Remove dough from mixer and knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes.  Form into ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.  

Feed through pasta roller until you get to the second last setting.  On my Kitchen Aid attachment, it is 7 on the dial.   Make sure you keep flouring both sides of the pasta when it is rolled out.  Sticky pasta can ruin the dish. Using a knife or a pasta roller, cut the pasta sheets into irregular size pieces.  Place in refrigerator until ready to boil.  

Before I had my mixer, I would make pasta by hand.  I still do it this way from time to time because it is therapeutic for me.  If you will be making yours by hand, this a great instructional video to watch.  

Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped arugula
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Remove pork from stock and separate meat into large chunks, removing any large chunks of fat or grizzle. Set aside.  

Meanwhile, strain out all of the veggies from the stock.  Remove any smaller bits by straining again through some cheese cloth or a nut milk bag.  Place strained liquid back on the stove over medium-high heat and continue to cook until it has reduced by about three quarters.  The flavor will be very concentrated and it took me about 30-40 minutes.  Finish the sauce by adding lemon juice, crème fraîche and butter, whisking until smooth.  Turn heat on low until pasta is ready.  

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil with a healthy pinch of salt and heavy drizzle of olive oil. Add pieces of pasta to water and boil for 1-2 minutes.  

Remove pasta from water and immediately put it on a large serving dish.  Top with chunks of pork and spoon sauce over the meat and noodles.  Finish by scattering arugula and parmesan cheese over the dish.    

Take a deep breath and enjoy... you're finally finished and it is totally worth it! 


  1. Oh my goshhh, this looks good. I think it's time for me to put the Kitchenaid pasta attachment on my Christmas list!

    1. I love my pasta attachment. However, I also have the spaghetti and fettuccine attachment and never use them. Much easier to cut the noodles yourself and save the cash for something else!


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