A Festive Feast from Italy
As we bid adieu to another orbit around the sun, twinkling lights and clinking glasses herald the festive season’s embrace. In our revelry, we’re tipping our hats to the boot-shaped nation, presenting the pièce de résistance: an Italian Porchetta, crisped to perfection.
Originating from Italy, Porchetta is a tantalizing, boneless pork roast, enriched with a blend of garlic, seasonings, and a variety of aromatic herbs, most notably rosemary. While it’s a treat served hot, it’s also popularly sliced cold for iconic “Italian roast pork” sandwiches.
Our Flavorful Rendition
Our Porchetta boasts a melange of fennel, garlic, sage, and rosemary, all wrapped in succulent pork belly. We’ve enhanced the experience by ensuring a crispy skin on the exterior while preserving the tenderness inside. The brilliance of our recipe lies in its perfect blend of flavor and texture, achieved in just 2½ hours of roasting. Dive into this unique festive dish!
- Fresh boneless pork belly with skin (5 to 6 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon of coarsely ground toasted fennel seeds
- 1½ tablespoons of chopped fresh sage
- 1½ tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- Grated or finely chopped 4 garlic cloves
- 1½ tablespoons of sea salt or Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- Zest of 1 fresh lemon
- 2 tablespoons of light olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
1. Lightly score the pork belly skin in a crisscross pattern, about 1 inch apart, ensuring not to penetrate too deeply.
2. Flip the pork belly and make 1-inch deep incisions on its underside, spaced an inch apart.
3. Prepare a marinade paste by combining the fennel seeds, sage, rosemary, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt, sugar, black pepper, lemon zest, and olive oil. For an enhanced flavor, toast fennel seeds in a pan over medium heat briefly.
4. Coat the pork belly thoroughly with the marinade, ensuring all sides are covered. Rest the pork belly, skin-side up, on a tray, wrap with cling film, and refrigerate for around 12 hours.
5. Let the marinated pork belly acclimate to room temperature for two hours. Meanwhile, position an oven rack in its lower third and preheat to 475 degrees F.
6. Roll the pork belly, skin-side out, into its signature Porchetta shape. Bind tightly with butcher’s string, spaced an inch apart.
7. Create a bed with the sliced onion on a baking sheet, moisten with water, and place the roast on top, brushing off any excess herbs from the skin to prevent burning.
8. Roast at 475 degrees F for 15 minutes, turn the tray, and roast for another 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 325F and roast for an additional 2 hours, ensuring the pan remains moist.
9. Once golden-brown, if the skin isn’t bubbled and crispy, raise the oven’s temperature to 450F.
10. Observe for skin bubbling and, when the top bubbles first, cover with a foil strip, exposing the roast’s sides. Continue roasting until both sides exhibit a bubbly, crackling texture.
11. Upon achieving the desired crispiness, remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes.
12. Remove the strings, transfer the roast to a plate, and slice into 1½-inch thick portions.
13. Strain pan juices into a separator. For more, deglaze the pan with hot water. Serve these juices on the side.
A Deeper Dive into Porchetta
Porchetta is more than just a roast; it’s an embodiment of Italian culture and culinary artistry. This dish traces its origins back to Central Italy, where it was a celebratory food during special occasions. Even today, it’s a staple at feasts and festivals. While the traditional recipe involves roasting an entire pig, contemporary adaptations, like the one above, cater to home kitchens, making it accessible to all. With its intricate blend of herbs and spices, Porchetta offers a rich, multifaceted flavor profile that stands out in festive spreads. Not only does it serve as a delightful main course, but its leftovers can also be used in sandwiches, imparting the exquisite taste of Italian festivities to your everyday meals. So, as you savor every bite, know that you’re partaking in a culinary tradition that spans centuries, symbolizing joy, celebration, and the art of fine cooking.