Kalua Pig with Cavatelli
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Recipe courtesy of Chung Chow

Kalua Pig with Cavatelli and Chinese Broccoli

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 45 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings



  1. Arrange an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with 2 large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, about 24 inches each, making a cross on the bottom of the dish. Place the banana leaf on top of the foil cross.
  2. Place the pork butt on top of the banana leaf. Drizzle the liquid smoke on top of the pork, then sprinkle the Alaea salt evenly across the top. Pour 1/4 cup water into the side of the pork.   
  3. Wrap the pork with the banana leaf. Take the foil from the 2 short sides of the dish and wrap the pork, followed by the foil on the 2 longer sides of the dish. Crimp the foil together to seal the pork. Make sure to wrap the pork tightly to prevent it from drying up during the cooking process. 
  4. Roast the pork until tender and moist, about 5 hours.  
  5. Let the pork rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Open the foil and the banana leaf and shred the pork into medium-size pieces with 2 forks and set aside.   
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and set aside. 
  7. Combine 1/4 cup of the pasta water and 1 cup of the shredded pork in a large skillet over medium heat. (Reserve the remaining pork for another use.) Add the pasta and toss to combine. Add the butter and stir to create a creamy consistency. Simmer the pasta and pork until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, making sure the liquid is not too loose or too dry and adding remaining reserved pasta water as needed. Turn off the heat, toss in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and season with kosher salt. 
  8. Add the oil to another large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it starts to brown slightly, about 1 minute. Add the Chinese broccoli and saute until slightly wilted, about 2 minutes, then toss to combine with the pasta. 
  9. To serve, divide the pasta among 4 bowls then finish with more Parmesan-Reggiano cheese on top.

Cook’s Note

Heavy duty aluminum foil is preferred to minimize the roasting pork from leaking juices during the cooking process. If the Chinese broccoli is on the larger side, blanch in water for about 1 minute before sauteing. Cut and trim to bite-size pieces if needed.