The folks over at Marx Foods issued a recipe challenge here: Mangalitsa Challenge , and of course I had to respond. I was fortunate enough to be selected, and I eagerly awaited the arrival of this very special and much heralded package.
While we are waiting on package to arrive, we dug into the history of the Mangalitsa pig and the resulting legendary marbled pork. As it turns out this is the pig our forefathers ate, long before the push for leaner pigs (doesn’t a lean pig seem like the ultimate oxymoron?)
After only a couple of days (even though it seemed like an eternity) the package arrives.
As you can see, this is far from :”The other white meat”. This section of ham has a look of marbled perfection.
So what to do with it? The requirements are only that I come up with an original recipe using this piece of ham.
The cured ham product I received posed an interesting dilemma, This is a great piece of meat from a heritage animal and has been professionally cured. What can I do to honor not only this meat by putting it as the feature, but by “doing no harm” in other words, whatever I do with it, must be a great fit to the character of the meat itself, it is just that good.
Being Sir Porkalot has it’s advantages, and one of those advantages is having a smoker and a selection of seasoned wood to choose from right out the back door.
If any meat was begging to be slowly cooked with cherry smoke, it was this section of Mangalitsa ham.
For this size piece of meat my Weber grill in the indirect cooking mode would be sufficient. So after getting a base of charcoal going in the charcoal baskets, I add a small piece of cherry wood. Once the smoke is going good, I add the ham.
After about an hour at 225 degrees in cherry smoke this is what it looks like – look at the coloring!
Capellini with Smoked Mangalitsa Ham
4 Quarts water
1 lb Capellini
1/4 lb Butter ( or 1 stick)
1 cup Smoked Mangalitsa Ham (Chopped)
1/2 cup extra virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic (crushed)
1 Tbl coarse ground Black Pepper
Sun dried tomatoes
Boil 4 quarts of water, and then add Capellini. While you are waiting for water to boil melt the butter in a pan with the garlic over low heat.
Once the butter is melted add the ham and increase the heat slightly to medium low. Now incorporate the olive oil into the mixture and let heat for 5 more minutes, before turning the burner back to low.
Once the Capellini is al dente, it is time to drain the pasta. Once the pasta has been drained toss pasta with the butter/oil/ham mixture, add the Sun Dried Tomatoes & Parsley to garnish.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, even though without tasting the amazing porkiness of the Mangalitsa Ham, I am not sure you can.