My happiest food memories surround events that brought the family together: baking pane carasau, making sweets for a wedding or Carnevale, and, of course, the killing of a pig. To this day, any time I make this dish or smell pork meat or sausage browning, I am instantly transported to Mannoi Arre’s house and the cucina rustica where we butchered the pig. When we were done cutting up the meat and making the sausage, there would be little bits of leftover meat and fat on the table. We scooped them up and sautéed them in the pan and then simmered them until tender to make this dish celebrating the end of the ritual. Since the pork meat available today is so lean, I have added a little pancetta to the ingredients in this recipe.
What to buy:Malloreddus is a small Sardinian ridged pasta that is often flavored with saffron; it can be white, bright yellow or tricolored. It is available in specialty food stores or online.
1Place the pork and pancetta in a large bowl. With a mortar and pestle, mash garlic and pepper into a paste. Mix in the vinegar. Toss pork and marinade until mixed well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
2In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the pork and pancetta for 5 minutes. Add the red wine and deglaze, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan.
3Add sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, and myrtle leaves to skillet. Add chicken stock, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
4Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add malloreddus and boil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente. Remove myrtle from sauce and discard. Toss pasta with sauce. Sprinkle with pecorino cheese and finish with a drizzling of olive oil.
Beverage pairing:A. Mano Puglia Primitivo, Italy. Smoky, meaty, and fruity all at once, this pasta dish needs a lusty red wine of the gulping sort. Primitivo from Southern Italy fits the bill. The same grape as American Zinfandel, Primitivos tend to have the same fruit flavors, but also notes of earth and wild herbs. The bright red fruit will play off the sundried tomatoes, and it will be a race to see which is finished first, the food or the wine.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.