An Italian tradition, Porchetta makes an impressive and surprisingly easy centerpiece for your holiday meal when it comes to preparation. From using an entire pig, to roast loin, or if you choose to use pork belly; this savory dish varies from region to region in Italy. Below you’ll find my recipe using pork belly. Using pork belly creates a beautiful crisp skin and a moist center of perfectly cooked and seasoned meat. The ease in preparation is amplified when you realize that it is almost “idiot proof” when it comes to cooking. The dish continues to become more tender as it is slowly cooked over time. Be sure to let the roast rest for 10-15 minutes.
- 1 pork belly 5 lbs.
- 8 rosemary sprigs
- 8 garlic cloves
- zest of 3 lemons
- 2 tbsp. cracked fennel seeds
- olive oil
- 2 white onion, coarsely chopped,
- 2 chopped fennel tops
- Preheat oven to 450°
- Lay pork belly fat side down. Season the pork with salt, fennel seed, 4 cloves minced garlic, chopped rosemary, lemon zest and cracked black pepper mead side up.
- Roll the pork up and tie securely with butcher’s twine. Season the exterior of the pork with salt and drizzle a bit of the olive oil over the loin.
- Place the chopped vegetables (remaining garlic, rosemary, onion, and fennel tops) in a roasting pan and set the loin over top. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
- Lower the heat to 325° and roast for approx. 2-3 hours or until the meat registers 145° on a meat thermometer.
Fennel Gratin Ingredients
- 3 heads fennel, quartered
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 1 bunch of parsley chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigianino
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- olive oil
- Saute the white onion in a pan over medium heat with the olive oil until softened and translucent –about 10 minutes.
- Place the fennel , onion and garlic in a roasting pan and add enough milk to come up about halfway on the fennel.
- Combine the parsley, breadcrumbs, and Parmigianino in a bowl and sprinkle over the fennel.
- “Dot” the gratin with a few cubes of butter and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the fennel is tender and the crumbs are golden brown.
- Plate and serve with Porchetta.