It’s fun to let a recipe go “wrong” on purpose. Maiale al Latte is one of those dishes: pork braised in milk for hours, until the milk gives way to tender, nutty, herb flavored curds. Some will tell you this “curdled milk” is a mistake. I’m here to tell you what everyone in San Marino and Italy already know – this is homemade cheese ripe for the snacking, an epic byproduct of an already amazingly tender roast, soaked with sage and rosemary, garlic and bay leaves, milk and wine.
Once strained out of the sauce, I’ve read accounts of the curds being spread on toast. What a guilty pleasure. Yum.
But let’s back up a moment. This isn’t about cheese. That’s just the cherry on top. This is really about a braised, tender pork shoulder… fit for any gathering of happy friends. The Sanmarinese and Italians love milk-braised pork. And today, we’re about to see why.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
1/4 cup olive oil
5 lb boneless pork shoulder, a.k.a. pork butt (no skin)
2 large rosemary sprigs
2 large sage sprigs
4 bay leaves
4 whole garlic cloves, skins on
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups whole milk
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly brown the pork in a dutch oven with plenty of good olive oil. As you brown the last side, toss in the rosemary, sage, bay leaves, and several whole garlic cloves (unpeeled). Let them infuse the oil with their glory.
Then, enjoy the glorious scent as you splash in the white wine and milk.
Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Cover and pop in the oven. Bake, turning once or twice, for 2 1/2-3 hours, or until completely tender. The milk will form curds.
(Yummy, yummy curds).
Strain the juices, skim off any fat, and serve on the side of the roast. Serve the curds separately, if desired.
Be sure to decorate the roast with a few sprigs of rosemary and sage for color.
The messier the better. No need to slice this one neatly, friends.
Tender, tender, tender.