Orecchiette with Shredded Pork and Greens

24. August 2012 Pasta + Noodles + Rice, Pork 0

This isn’t a recipe for a new dish as much as it is a recipe for leftovers. I had made the Japanese buta no kakuni, or pork belly, two weekends ago and still had leftovers that kept pretty well in the fridge. When it came time for a home-cooked meal this week, I scooped some of the meat up together with the already-coagulated soy-flavored liquid and heated it in a wok before tossing in with some pasta and kailan, or Chinese broccoli. Almost any greens will do, but I prefer the sturdy bitter type. You can substitute shorter penne for the orecchiette, too, if that’s what you have in your pantry.

The sweet soy liquid that cooked down added to the sweetness of the meat and I didn’t have to season it with salt and pepper. Sometimes, the work you put ahead of time pays off much later–and in multiple meals. It’s like orecchiette with sausage and broccoli florets, only by your Asian grandmother.

4 handfuls of orecchiette pasta
cooked pork belly (see recipe for buta no kakuni below)
a handful of kailan, throughly washed, chopped
red chile flakes

1. Bring a large pot of salty water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente, or about 20 minutes. Drain while reserving some of the pasta cooking water for later.
2. Heat a skillet and reheat the cooked pork belly. Prod the meat gently with a wooden spoon to shred it. Toss in greens and season with red chile flakes. Turn off the heat and add the pasta until well-combined.