Arista is an Italian word rooted in the Greek adjective “agazos” (Αγαθος) which means “good”, or to be more precise, from the superlative form of such adjective: “Aristos” (Αριστος) which means “the best”.
In the Italian language such form (Aristos) has been tranformed into a noun, only used to identify a specific cut of meat, called ARISTA, taken from the back of the pork, which is considered it’s “best” part due to the tenderness, the very low quantity of fat and the delicate taste.
In the Italian cooking tradition you can find several ways to cook the Arista, but in most of the cases it is roasted. My version is called Arista “al Latte” – with milk – which is the way my mother was used to cook it because milk keeps the tenderness of the meat (pork tends to be pretty dry, thus you need some trick to keep it soft even after long cooking) and it enhance it’s taste. The procedure is pretty simple and require very few ingredients as well as very basic cooking still which makes this recipe good for anyone.
The result is a refined roasted-stewed pork, cut in slices of the thickness you like, which can be dressed with it’s own cooking sauce.
Arista al Latte
- 1 kg of Arista (back side of the pork) – serves up to 6 people
- 1 big onion (blond, white or red it’s irrelevant)
- 1 carrot
- 2 tablespoon of Extra Virgion Olive Oil
- 1 Liter of Milk (whole milk is better by low fat is also fine) – at room temperature
- Salt to taste
Clean the carrot and peel the onion, then chop them in very small pieces.
Take a large pot with high edges and put the chopped vegetables in it together with 2 tabelspoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Turn on the fire at high level and wait until it starts frying. Mix with a wooden tablespoon while browning the vegetable (try to avoid burning the onion as it will give a bitter taste to the meat). Once ready (a couple of minutes is usually enough) take the Arista and put it inside the pot.
Let the Arista brown for a couple of minites each side, until you see that the color is pretty homogeneous on all sides (you can revolve it inside the pot using 2 wooden spoons or with a big metal fork with a long handle, depending on the instruments you have ).
Now, take the milk and pour it into the pot unitl the Arista is almost fully covered. Keep the fire high until the milk starts boiling, then turn it down at minimum level. Add salt, to taste.
Close the pot with it’s own cover and let the Arista cook for approximately 15 minutes, then remove the cover and keep cooking at very low fire, for 15-20 more minutes. During this cooking phase, the milk will reduce a lot and will turn into a creamy consistency. When the level of the milkios well reduced, turn off the fire, wait a couple of minutes, then take the Arista out of the pot and put it on a plate to let it cool, for 1 hour.
Take your blender and liquify the remaining milk, the chopped carrots and onion. You can blend directly in the pot or you can move the ingredients into another bowl, as you prefer. You will obtain a sauce to be used for dressing the Arista.
When the Arista is cold, you can cut it into slices (as thick as you wish but I recommend to avoid excessive thickness to – 1 cm is a good measure). Put the slices in the same pot you have used for cooking (or take a clean one, if you prefer), pour the sauce over the slices, turn on the fire at medium level until the liquid starts to boil again and turns into a creamy texture. Serve pretty warm with roasted potatoes as side dish,
The taste of Arista is pretty delicate thus you can pair it with a pretty aromatic white wine. I would recommend a Traminer, a Riesling or even a simple Chardonnay.