We’ve been home from our trip to Italy for a few weeks now but I’m already craving a few foods. One is Italian style pork roast or Porchetta. I’ve tasted it in many regions of Italy and while each region uses local spices or puts their own spin on how it’s cooked, the porchetta still has a distinctive flavor that stays with you long after you’ve returned home from vacation.
In this post I’ll be sharing two recipes with you; one that is pretty authentic and one that is a ‘lighter’ version. Each uses different cuts of pork with similar spices, slightly different cooking methods and yet, both turned out tasty.
Just a quick note: you can ask the butcher at your grocery store to butterfly the pork roast for you should you desire to do the butterfly cut with this roast. Most stores don’t tell you that any purchase in the meat department (not just in the meat case) can be cut by the butcher.
I just happened to have a boneless pork shoulder in the freezer to make this recipe. I did not have it butterfly cut because I did not know when I purchased it that I would be using it for a porchetta recipe. I cut the roast in half to add the spices in the middle which was okay, but I should have tried to butterfly it myself. There are many videos on YouTube to show you how to do it. And instructions how to butterfly a pork roast are included in the instructions to Italian pork roast recipe #2 below.
- 3 pound boneless pork shoulder (ask butcher to butterfly if you desire)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons sea salt, coarse
- 2 tablespoons peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary, fresh, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sage, fresh, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
- Warm fennel seeds to toast slightly.
- Finely grind fennel seeds, salt, and peppercorns.
- Drizzle olive oil over pork that is opened up and laying flat. Rub half seasoning on interior surface to coat. Then sprinkle with garlic, rosemary, sage and lemon zest.
- Roll up roast and secure with kitchen string or twine in 1-2 inch intervals.
- Rub exterior of roast with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining seasoning mix.
- AT THIS POINT - you can cook or refrigerate overnight.
- PREP: preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Place roast in Dutch oven and cook uncovered until thermometer reads 160-170 degrees (about 3 hours).
- Remove from heat and let stand for another 15 minutes. Remove string or twine and slice. Spoon juices over meat.
Here is recipe #2 complete with instructions how to butterfly the pork roast yourself. It comes from Food Done Light. There is also a light gravy included you can spoon over the slices of pork.
- 2 1/2 lb pork loin
- 2 tbsp. fennel seed
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- tsp. dried red pepper flakes
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- Put spices in grinder and grind into a puree.
- To butterfly: Place pork roast on a cutting board with short end closest to you. Using a very sharp knife, place the knife 1/3 the way from the bottom on the long side of the pork. Cut the pork trying to stay level all the way but 1/2 inch through the pork.Turn the cutting board around and cut into another 1/3 again leaving a 1/2 inch from the end of the pork.
- Place a piece of wax paper over the pork and using a mallet hit the pork to make it a uniform height.
- Smear the spice paste all over the top of the pork.Roll up the pork.
- Using twine, tie 4 circles around the diameter of the pork, about every inch or so. Tie another circle around the pork lengthwise.
- Cover pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375•.Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. When pot is very hot add oil.Brown on all 4 sides, about 4 minutes per side. You want a good crust.
- Put lid on and bake for about 1 hour, internal temperature should be 145.
- Place pork on a clean cutting board and cover with foil.
- Place Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat.Pour in wine to deglaze the pot. Scrape off any browned bits on the bottom. Stir well. Let boil for a minute or so.Add chicken broth ad heat through. Serve with pork.
Pork is delightful served with roasted sliced apples or applesauce, green beans, brussel sprouts, peas, or about any vegetable. I served it with garlic green beans and mushroom risotto. Yummy!