Porchetta: Go off on a Tasty Italian Tangent!

It’s the classic Italian Pork Roast, and it’s unlike any other Pork Roast you’ve ever come across! Come along with me as I explore the magnificent mysteries and glorious goodness of the tenderest, most flavourful Pork Roast you’ve ever tasted!

Maggie J.'s Monster Porchetta - © maggiejs.caMy Monster Porchetta, using two Pork Loins in tandem…
Note the lovely browned, crispy skin!

I can already hear some folks – BBQ Fans, in the main – protesting that a nice Pulled Pork Shoulder, rubbed in Carolina spices and doused in classic, sweet/sour West Carolina sauce is the ultimate Pork Roast. I maintain, however, that a roast is something you you slice for presentation, not something you pull apart and pile up on a bun. And it’s my blog, so there.

How to make it…

Lay the Pork Belly in a shallow tray or on a large baking sheet meat side up, skin side down. Then, make up the following Dry Rub:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, place:

2 Tbsp. Whole Fennel Seeds
1 Tbsp. Whole Black peppercorns
2 Tsp. Dried Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary Leaves
2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
2 Tbsp. Coarse (Sea or Kosher) Salt

Mix these ingredients together well.

Pour 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice or sprinkle Zest of 1 Lemon onto meat side of Pork Belly and massage-in gently.

Then, sprinkle Dry Rub all over the meat side of the Belly and massage-in vigorously. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and leave to cure in  the bottom of the fridge for at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours.

Next, the Pork Loin…

Prepare the following marinade in a food processor or large blender:

2 Cups Italian Flat-leaf Parsley (tightly packed)
2 Cups Arugula or Spinach (tightly packed)
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan or Romano OR finely-crumbled Feta Cheese
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/3 Cup Olive Oil (Extra Virgin is always best for marinades or dressings)
Coarse (Sea or Kosher) Salt, to taste

Purée the mixture until it achieves the consistency of a thin Pesto. Add more oil, if necessary. You can also add a handful of Feta or Grated Parmesan Cheese at this point and blend well into the mixture.

Lay the loin on a shallow tray or baking sheet and slather the marinade all over it. Be sure to scoop up some form the bottom of the pan and pile it on top of the Loin. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave to cure, along with the Belly, in the bottom of the fridge for at least 24 hours, preferably 48 hours.

Putting it all together…

With the Belly still laying flat on its curing pan, meat side up, place the loin at one end. Pour the Loin Marinade onto the Belly and gently massage it all over the meat side. Now, roll up the Belly so it encases the loin, trim any excess Belly and tie the roast with butcher’s string at 2 in. / 5 cm intervals to help it keep its shape during cooking.

Roast off uncovered on a wire rack in a deep roasting pan for 4 hours at 300 F. The Belly will baste the loin as it all cooks and the majority of the fat should render down into the bottom of the pan.

Slice hot from the oven to serve in the classic manner or let it cool overnight and slice like a deli roast for sandwiches or other applications.

You can cut this large roast into several chunks and freeze them, tightly wrapped in plastic, for future deployment. Just remove from the freezer 24 hours prior to serving and let thaw gently in the fridge.

And there you have it!

Okay… I never claimed it was low in fat, or calories. Or Salt, for that matter. But it is a wonderful treat and a great way to ‘go Italian’ that doesn’t involve Tomato or Alfredo sauce!

Treat yourself to this Italian classic soon!

~ Maggie J.