Sunday, August 8, 2010


I use to go up north with my brother Terry and my ever so Italian sister-in-law Liz.

Liz's mother Jenny made the most delicious porchetta. I remember that food - and wine - was never missing in the Galli houshold.

Here Chef Andrew Zimmerman creates an updated, simplified version of porchetta starting with a pork loin, seasoned and wrapped in a pork belly. Love pork belly!

Bon Appetit!

Seasoning mix:

1 tablespoon minced lemon zest

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped sage

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons toasted fennel seed, crushed

6 bay leaves, toasted and ground

2-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper


5 pounds pork belly, skin on

6 pounds boneless pork loin


Black pepper


1/2 cup white wine

3 cups pork or chicken stock

2 tablespoons cold butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the roast one to two days before you want to cook the porchetta.

Mix the seasoning: Combine all the spices in a small bowl.

Prepare the meat: Trim the pork belly so that it is roughly the same width as the pork loin is long. The belly should be long enough to wrap around the pork loin once.

Rub the entire seasoning mix on the inside of the pork belly and the outside of the pork loin. Now, wrap the belly around the pork loin and try to get the belly to form a neat seam. Using butcher’s twine, tie up the roast at 2-inch intervals. Wrap the porchetta in plastic wrap, and let it start getting delicious in the refrigerator for two days.

Roast: When you are ready to roast, let the porchetta, come to room temperature for about two hours. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the outside of the porchetta liberally with salt and black pepper and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast 45 minutes.

Turn the roast 180 degrees around, and continue to cook, 2 to 2-1/2 hours more, until the internal temperature reaches about 135 degrees.

Remove from the oven and allow it to rest on cooling rack at least 30 minutes before carving. Meanwhile, make the sauce.

Make the sauce: Stir the wine into the roasting pan and place on the stovetop over high heat. Scrape up all the good brown bits and transfer the liquid to a saucepan. Add the stock and cook down until a light sauce consistency is reached.

Swirl in the cold butter and add salt and pepper as needed.

To serve: Slice the roast and serve with the sauce. 12 to 15 servings.

At her New York City restaurant, Porchetta, Sara Jenkins serves up porchetta sandwiches as they do in Italy: slices of tender, juicy meat, crunchy bits and all, on a good, Italian roll.

Sara co wrote the extraordinary cookbook Olives & Oranges with La Cucina Italiana food editor Mindy Fox and this recipe is pretty close to her porchetta. You use a boneless pork shoulder and cook it at low heat for a long period of time.

Sara Jenkins Pork Shoulder

20 fresh sage leaves

3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only

3 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves only

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons wild fennel pollen

1 1/2 teaspoons medium-coarse sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1 (3 3/4- to 4-pound) boneless pork shoulder (with skin, not tied)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dry white or red wine

Heat oven to 250ยบ.

Finely chop sage, thyme, rosemary and garlic together (you can do this by pulsing in a food processor or by hand). Place mixture in a small bowl, add fennel pollen, salt and pepper, and stir together well.

With a sharp knife, score pork skin in a crosshatch diamond pattern, making ⅛-inch deep cuts 1 inch apart. With a paring knife, make about 10 incisions (about 1/2 inch deep) all over the pork and stuff with about ⅓ of the herb mixture. Tie pork into a compact roast with kitchen twine, brush oil over skin and rub all over with remaining herb mixture.

Set pork skin side up in a roasting pan. Roast for 2 hours.

Pour wine over pork and baste with wine and accumulated juices. Continue roasting, basting once every half hour, until skin is well browned and the meat is spoon-tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours more.

Remove from oven and let meat rest 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: Fennel pollen is a trendy ingredient in high end Italian restaurants right now. You can buy it on line at many specialty food stores such as Zimmerman’s.