Why You Should Put Pork Cracklings in Your Pasta

Courtesy of Scampo
By F&W Editors Posted January 20, 2015

There’s one dish that legendary Boston chef Lydia Shire has never taken off the menu atScampo: the spaghetti with cracklings and hot pepper. 

There’s one dish that legendary Boston chef Lydia Shire has never taken off the menu at Scampo: the spaghetti with cracklings and hot pepper. The simple but flavorful dish was inspired by her father’s cooking. “The first time I ever had cracklings, my father made them,” Shire says. “After that, I couldn’t wait for him to make them because you could go over and start picking them off the plate, these crunchy, mildly salty cubes of beautiful pork fat.” So when she first opened Scampo, Shire immediately came up with a dish that included those gorgeous, salty-fatty cracklings. She salts the pork fat, leaves it overnight, then cuts it into big cubes and renders them down in their own fat. She cooks the spaghetti with parsley and garlic (“Just like my father’s spaghetti allioli,” she says), then tosses it with the cracklings and chopped red vinegar peppers. “All the chefs in Boston come for this one dish,” Shire says. “I think it’s because of my respect for fat. My favorite ingredients in the world are fat and salt.”

Related: 15 Spaghetti Recipes
10 Best Food and Drink Pairings in Boston
25 Meaty Pastas

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