Porcehetta – I Told You So

I promise you this is one of the best things you will ever eat. Period.

If I had my way I would eat Porchetta every day for the rest of my life. However, since it’s a pork loin rolled in pork belly, it may not be the brightest thing to do, but it certainly would be the most luxurious, and indulgent thing you could do, and perhaps worth the early grave you’d be heading if you ate it more than four times a year. But what the hell do I know? When I was in Italy I ate it all the time, and I’m still here to oink about it.

In Frascati it was all over the place, street venders and butchers stood proudly behind their mammoth Porcehttas that were as big as pigs, four to five feet long, slices big as dinner plates- –crispy on the outside, moist, amazing in the middle…sublime…

In Orvieto, I found one in a butcher shop, it was the star attraction, and I’m a stargazer, so I went back three times, and walked through the street like some untamed beast chopping away, people pointed and laughed at me- -herby, soft in the middle, outrageously delicious… -Yes, to die for, hand me the sword.

In Rome I found it in market across from where I lived, they kept it in a glass case. I’d spend my afternoons ogling at it- -seasoned with orange peel and fennel seeds, tangy and scrumptious… I ate it more than I should have…whatever.

It’s easy to make, the only annoying thing is that you have to dry the skin out for a few days in the refrigerator, but I’ll get to that, stay calm it’s worth the wait.

So buy a pork belly, skin-on, and a pork loin. Most butchers at your market will butterfly the loin for you. And while you’re at it, ask them for some twine.

Lay the pork loin on top of the pork belly.  Now chop up fresh rosemary, sage, parsley, and garlic, rub it inside the pork loin, then get some fennel seeds, some orange zest (optional) hot peppers flakes and sprinkle it on top of the herbs, press that stuff in. Now tightly roll that baby up, tie it with butcher’s twine, each tie should be about an inch apart.

Put it on a rack and under a plate or pan, let it sit in the frig overnight, ideally though, it should sit for 3 days, the dryer the skin, the better. As moisture extracts from the skin, dry it off with a paper towel  You definitely want to get the skin dry so it will puff and crisp. You can also rub baking soda on the skin, this will help speed up the process. -Warning! Don’t use too much baking soda, it will make the outside taste a tad funky.

Heat your oven to 500. Put the Porchetta on a rack, salt it heavily, but don’t go crazy (I use sea salt). Roast it until the skins puffs and get crispy, about 20 to 30 minutes. Lower the heat to about 325. Depending on the size, it might take about 2 hours or longer to reach the internal temperature of 145. Make sure you tent it with foil if the skin starts to burn.  When done, take it out, let it sit for a half hour, then dig in…  –And yup, I told you so…

 

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About johncpicardi

Welcome to my blog. I am the author of the novel Oliver Pepper's Pickle and the published plays The Sweepers and Seven Rabbits on a Pole, both plays have been produced off Broadway and around the US. I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University where I majored in Culinary arts. I have a BA from The University of Massachusetts and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. This blog is about food and food memories and every other fantastic and scrumptious thing to do with it. My appetite and passion for food is large and runs deep, sometimes its indulgent and wild and other times wholesome and simple, often humorous and always immeasurable. I grew up outside of Boston and spent many hours of my childhood in front of the TV watching Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) and Julia Child prepare all kinds of luscious meals that would make my mouth water. Other days I’d follow my mother and two grandmothers around their simple, tidy kitchens as they busily prepared hearty fragrant meals, hand-cut pastas, preserved fruits and vegetables, baked yeasty breads, spicy cookies and frosted lopsided cakes. I was there by their side asking questions and helping where needed and there were plenty of times I was ordered to leave if I was in their way. It was a given that by the time I graduated High School I would be going off to Johnson & Wales University to study Culinary Arts. Those years were fine and good. I loved the hands on creativeness of cooking whether it be the simple lesson of washing a sink full of colorful salad greens, trussing a chicken or peeling a gorgeous carrot or the complicated lessons of making a French Country Pate or Julia Child’s Cassoulet or making Brioche, it all thrilled me and my dream had arrived!
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