Bucatini, Pork Belly, Watermelon, Green Coriander, Lemon

Adapted by StarChefs.com
July 2021


Pickled Watermelon Rind:
8 ounces watermelon rind
1 cup Champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
Pork Jus:
3 pounds pork back bones
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
½ pig's foot
To Assemble and Serve:
12 ounces dried bucatini
1½ pounds pork belly, diced
1 red onion, diced
⅔ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lemon, halved
2 cups diced watermelon
Cilantro leaves and flowers


For the Pickled Watermelon Rind

Using a sharp vegetable peeler, remove and discard the outer green peel of the rind. Dice the inner white portion of the rind. You should have about ½ cup diced rind. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, salt, and ¼ cup water to a boil over high heat. Add the watermelon rind, turn the heat to medium, and simmer just until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture come to room temperature. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate the rind in its brine for at least 8 hours.

For the Pork Jus

Preheat the oven to 400℉. Spread the pork bones out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until deeply browned, about 1 hour. Heat the vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Add the roasted bones, pig’s foot, and 5 quarts of water. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and skim off any impurities. Partially cover the pot with a lid and continue to simmer for 18 hours. Strain the jus through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. Pour the strained jus into a clean stockpot, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a rapid simmer. Continue to simmer until the jus is reduced to about 8 cups, about 45 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To Assemble and Serve

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the bucatini and cook until not quite al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain immediately. In a large skillet, cover the pork belly with about ¼ inch water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer until the water fully evaporates and the fat starts to render from the skin, about 20 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the pork belly browns and crisps, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the onion and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of Pork Jus and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cooked bucatini and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid forms a creamy sauce around the pasta. Add another 1 cup of Pork Jus as needed to make the sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in chopped cilantro. Squeeze the lemon halves over the pasta and season with salt. Divide the pasta among 4 serving plates or bowls. Garnish with the freshly diced watermelon, pieces of Pickled Watermelon Rind, and cilantro leaves and flowers. Serve immediately.