I had never heard of porchetta until I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest. So what is it? Porchetta is an Italian pork roast. It’s made by wrapping a seasoned pork loin in pork belly, marinating for a day or two, then slow roasting. Then I googled pork belly and found out it was an uncured slab of bacon. Insert Homer Simpson uuuuuugh here. Where has this been all my life? It sounds absolutely mouthwatering!
An Italian way to roast pork that’s so full of flavor (and makes fantastic sandwiches!)
Let’s start with the easy stuff. I always have olive oil on hand, and I had plenty of leftover herbs from this year’s Thanksgiving recipes. That left only a few things to shop for, the pork loin and the pork belly. You know, the major ingredients for this roast.
The pork loin was easy to find, and I picked up a 1 1/2 pound piece for $8.49. The pork belly required some hunting. After visiting three grocery stores, I finally found it at Doris Italian Market. They had packages of small pieces on display, but the butcher was kind enough to cut me a larger two-pound piece.
The first thing I noticed was the pork belly was not large enough to wrap around the pork loin, no matter how I trimmed it. I would not be deterred, and I watched a few how to make porchetta videos on YouTube. The solution to my problem was to cut my long piece of pork loin into two shorter pieces. Then I butterflied the pork belly to make it longer and thinner. Now both pieces of meat were just the right size for wrapping.
One video I watched also showed removing the skin and wrapping the porchetta in it (so the pork loin would be wrapped in the pork belly, and both would be wrapped in the skin). I wanted to keep things simple, so I left the skin on and cut it away as I ate.
Once the meat was cut, I toasted the fennel seeds and used my mini-prep to mix the herbs, spices, lemon zest, and olive oil into a paste. Spreading it onto the pork was simple, then it was time to roll it all up and tie it.
Tying the roast took some patience. I wasn’t sure how much kitchen string I needed, so I measured out roughly 10 feet to be on the safe side. The author linked to really clear written instructions and photos in another of her blog posts. I also saw the technique in the videos I watched.
It wasn’t too difficult to do, but getting the tension right was. Getting the wrap tight enough to hold together but not so tight the pork loin is squeezed out must be an art. My wrapped porchetta seemed flimsy, so I added a crosswise tie of kitchen string to make sure it held together.
After two days marinating in the refrigerator, it was time to roast. I let the porchetta sit at room temperature for an hour and a half, then it was onto a roasting rack and into the oven. I had the juiciest, most succulent pork roast I’ve ever tried 2 hours and 20 minutes later.
Here is the breakdown of all the steps and how long the entire process took:
- 26 minutes to prep
- 48 hours to marinate
- 2 hours 20 minutes to roast
- 10 minutes to stand
- 2 hours 25 minutes total (not including 48 hours to marinate)