MUTTON WITH HANDMADE PASTA
The Cretans are known for their love for "exotic" meats, that is, for sheep and goats and more for their love of yogurt. Mutton is last years’ lamb that has not yet given birth.The Cretans are known for their love for "exotic" meats, that is, for sheep and goats and more for their love of yogurt. Mutton is last years’ lamb that has not yet given birth.
The search for this meat takes you to the Cretan marshes, to the high mountains, on a mysterious trip to the pastures with the figures of Cretan shepherds with flocks of sheep and goats.The search for this meat takes you to the Cretan marshes, to the high mountains, on a mysterious trip to the pastures with the figures of Cretan shepherds with flocks of sheep and goats.Mutton is a tradition, Cretan dish usually associated with weddings, fairs, festivals, parties, dances, feasts, eaten with raki and enjoyed to the sounds of lyre and lute to cheer and lift you to heaven, with plenty of traditional dancing.Pilaf rice was the traditional wedding meal accompaniment but pasta has in recent decades started to gain in popularity. Pasta in meat broth is used at many festive events.In Eastern Crete, such meats were not particularly common at weddings but they were in Heraklion, Rethymno and Hania. For the past 20 years they have been making ham and spaghetti with goat in goat juices.At the few weddings that take place in the square or the courtyard of the elementary school in my village, the couple's relatives invite a specific person, Mr. Panagiotis Markoulakis, to cook the meat, who’s a former police officer but also a great chef. Early in the afternoon the flames light up and huge pots of great quality meat simmer. He always manages to get it all ready on time to feed 1000 guests (the usual number in Crete) hot, well-cooked spaghetti.For the broth to be good it needs to have bones. The most delicious broth, in my opinion, needs a certain type of pasta, good quality grated cheese and excellent oil to get the best tastes.
1kg of pork leg
For the pasta:
600g wheat flour
150ml lukewarm water
50ml olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Wash the pork well and boil it in a saucepan with plenty of water. Add some salt.
When it boils, remove the foam created with a slatted spoon. You will need to do this 2-3 times.
Reduce the temperature to half and bake for about 1.5 - 2 hours depending on the meat. It should be soft enough.
Now make the dough for the pasta.
Sift the flour and add the salt, oil and water slowly. We need to have a tough dough so we can make the pasta
Allow the dough to rest for about half an hour.
On a floured bench, make strips of pasta a little thinner than the little finger.
Cut the dough about 3-4 cm apart.
Now the difficult part begins but with a little practice, it'll become easier. One piece of dough is pressed in the middle with our fingers and pushed forward. The movement is to push forward, then backwards then forwards again.
Here’s a tip my grandma gave me when I was little and couldn’t do it properly. Take a little dough in your hand, press it into your palm and then roll it lightly with both hands to twist it. Try this too. Keep flouring your hands so that the dough doesn’t stick.
When finished, put the pasta in a colander to sift off the excess flour.
In the meantime, the pork must be ready. Take it out onto a plate and salt it.
Strain the juice for any bones.
Measure 8-9 cups of broth for the amount of pasta you get (about 700 g). If you’re using ready-made packaged pasta which is normally in 500g bags, measure 6 cups of juice.
Lightly salt the broth and allow to boil. Whisk and stir it constantly. Boil for about 20-30 minutes. If you use packaged, prepare as instructed.
Just before it's ready, add the meat again to the pot to get it to boil with the pasta.
Allow 2-3 minutes for the food to sit before serving.
You can use dried cream cheese or oil.
Put the cream cheese on a plate and place the food on top. Sprinkle extra cheese top.