Man Food: Porchetta Mac-and-Cheese at The Salty Pig
Though it arrives in a small package, the porchetta mac-and-cheese at The Salty Pig is top notch.
Life is better with a healthy dose of pork. That’s not even debatable so much as it is factual, and at The Salty Pig, there is a punctuation of pork in every which way imaginable. The menu is accented by “salty pig parts” and “stinky cheeses,” a clever do-it-yourself approach to the sometimes banal charcuterie plate. The brunch fare here is mostly classic, highlighted by far too many pork combinations to count. On a recent brunch outing, I opted for the porchetta mac-and-cheese ($10), politely declining the healthy side salad option and instead carbo-loading on a side of home fries.
Surprisingly, the mac-and-cheese is confined to a cute little cast iron skillet, smaller than I had anticipated, which arrives bubbling hot from the wood burning oven. But it packs an unctuous punch, thanks to the classic Mornay sauce preparation: Cheddar, Comte, and Parmesan cheese are mixed with cream and then added to a mix of Orecchiette pasta and porchetta. The porchetta features thick sticks of whole roasted suckling pig, and you don’t have to search hard to find it in the finished product. It’s like a fun and delicious salty treat every time the porchetta pokes its way through the Mornay and slips in between the cracks of the pasta. Tiny shreds of arugula give the mac and cheese a faint sharpness and undertones of sage perfume. The pasta is cooked perfectly, uniting with the porchetta and the cheese sauce—and, unsurprisingly, and I left no morsel behind. The home fries are crispy and salty just as they should be, and no one will judge you if you find yourself dipping them into the cheese sauce that remains.
For such a pork happy establishment, one expects a level of gluttony, but not all dishes are exorbitant at The Salty Pig. The porchetta mac-and-cheese is on the smaller side, accompanied by just a few scattered pieces of home fries and an out-of-season slice of watermelon. But it’s rich enough to just fill you up, and each bite is as luxurious as the next. Add a Bloody Mary (above) to round out the meal, and your Sunday will be off to a pretty great start.
130 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-536-6200, thesaltypig.com