One day I will roast a suckling pig… but for the time being, I’ll have to do with Porchetta, which if you haven’t had it is a fine, fine substitute. If you’re a fan of pork like I am, this is pork on pork on pork and it.is.amazing!
Porchetta is pork loin wrapped in pork belly seasoned with herbs and aromatics which is then roasted. It is pork to the max and basically my own version of heaven. It’s a traditional Italian street food, popular in Rome, often sliced to order and served in a sandwich.
To make porchetta at home, you’ll need: 1 pork belly, 1 boneless pork loin, herbs and spices, at least 4 hungry carnivorous friends or family and a couple days!
This recipe is a bit involved (I, for one, love recipes like this).
After preparing the pork belly, seasoning it with herbs and spices, and finally wrapping the whole shebang up with twine, it needs a lot of downtime. This is not the recipe for you if you want to whip it up that evening. You’ll want the porchetta to sit in the fridge uncovered for a few days and then sit out at room temperature before you actually cook it. Good things come to those who wait!
And while it might look intimidating, the final product is well worth it! I mean look at that crispy, fatty pork belly and that perfectly cooked pork loin. I’m drooling already.
This meal is rich and decadent and perfect for any holiday or family gathering. It definitely feeds a lot of people. We served ours with some roasted veggies and wild rice… it’s a heavy dish so your classic meat and potato pairing might be a bit much. This was an incredible meal and a fun experience all around. You can’t go wrong with anything wrapped in pork belly, let alone more pork!
- 1 5–6-pound piece fresh pork belly, skin on
- 1 (trimmed) 2-3-pound boneless, center-cut pork loin
- 3 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt
- Put belly skin side down; arrange loin in center. Roll belly around loin so the short ends of the belly meet. If any of the belly or loin overhangs, trim meat. Unroll; set loin aside.
- Set belly skin side down. Using a knife, score the belly flesh in a checkerboard pattern ⅓" deep so roast will cook evenly.
- Flip belly skin side up. Using a paring knife, poke dozens of ⅛"-deep holes through skin all over belly. Don't be gentle! Keep poking.
- Using the jagged edge of a meat mallet, pound skin all over for 3 minutes to tenderize, which will help make skin crispy when roasted.
- Toast fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Tip spices into a bowl; let cool. Finely grind spices in a spice mill and transfer to a small bowl, along with the sage, rosemary, and garlic; set fennel mixture aside.
- Turn belly and generously salt both it and loin; rub both with fennel mixture. Arrange loin down middle of belly. Top with orange slices.
- Roll belly around loin; tie crosswise with kitchen twine at ½" intervals. Trim twine. Transfer roast to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.
- Refrigerate roast, uncovered, for 1-2 days to allow skin to air-dry; pat occasionally with paper towels.
- Let porchetta sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 500°. Season porchetta with salt. Roast on rack in baking sheet, turning once, for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 300° and continue roasting, rotating the pan and turning porchetta occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 145°, 1½-2 hours more. If skin is not yet deep brown and crisp, increase heat to 500° and roast for 10 minutes more. Let rest for 30 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice into ½" rounds.