Entree/Dinner Holidays Italian Meals Origins Pork

Holiday Porchetta with Fennel Gratin

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.

Porchetta Ingredients

  • 1 pork belly 5 lbs.
  • 8 rosemary sprigs
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 2 tbsp. cracked fennel seeds
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 white onion, coarsely chopped,
  • 2 chopped fennel tops


  1. Preheat oven to 450°
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  • milk
  • butter
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigianino
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • salt


  1. Saute the white onion in a pan over medium heat with the olive oil until softened and translucent –about 10 minutes.
  2.  Place the fennel , onion and garlic in a roasting pan and add enough milk to come up about halfway on the fennel.
  3. Combine the parsley, breadcrumbs, and Parmigianino in a bowl and sprinkle over the fennel.
  4. “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.
  5. Plate and serve with Porchetta.


Entree/Dinner Featured Recipes Meals Pork

Alsatian Bacon and Onion Tartelette

Pate Brisee (Pie Dough) Ingredients

  • 3 cups Flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups soft butter
  • 1 cup ice water

Pate Brisee Instructions

  1. Mix flour, salt, sugar and soft butter in mixer, and then add egg yolk and water.
  2. Once everything is mixed, form dough into a ball (dough should not be very sticky).
  3. Wrap dough in damp cloth and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
  4. Take dough and make small tartelette shells.
  5. Par bake shells for about 10 minutes at 350° F

Onion Mixture Ingredients

  • 3 Spanish onions, chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups julienne smoked bacon
  • 2 cups Béchamel Sauce (thick)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Onion Mixture Instructions

  1. Sauté bacon until golden brown.
  2. Add onion and sauté until soft over medium heat, approximately 20 minutes. The onions will be transluscent.
  3. Cool mixture to room temperature and add béchamel sauce and egg yolk to bind mixture.
  4. Season mixture with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Tartelette Instructions

  • Once tartelettes and onion mixture have cooled scoop onion mixture into tarts and bake 20 minutes at 350° F (until brown on top).
Boston Restaurants Entree/Dinner Featured Recipes Italian Pasta Pork

Red Wine Braised Boar with Fresh Cavatelli

This recipe is from Paul Turano, Executive Chef at Tryst Restaurant in Arlington. The subtle flavor and gamey texture of the boar is enhanced by slowly simmering the meat at a low temperature over a long period of time, allowing the flavors of the sauce to marry with the boar. Pair this dish with a good, northern style Côtes du Rhône.

Boar Ragout Ingredients

  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 3 cups diced mirepoix (onion, carrots & celery)
  • 3 lbs. boar shoulder – medium diced
  • 5 ea. garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 2 tbs. rosemary, rough chopped
  • 2 tbs. thyme, rough chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 4 cups veal stock
  • 1/2 can tomatoes; crushed by hand
  • 1/2 cup slab bacon
  • 2 ea. bay leaves
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Boar Ragout Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven or roasting pan over high heat, adding the canola oil.
  2. Season the boar with salt and pepper and sear until browned.  Work the meat in batches being careful not to crown the pan.
  3. Once all of the meat is browned add the mirepoix and sauté until tender and lightly browned.
  4. Add garlic until fragrant.
  5. Add rosemary, thyme and a pinch of hot pepper, until fragrant..
  6. Deglaze with veal stock, scraping out the sauté pan.
  7. Add the wine and remainder of the ingredients.
  8. Cover lightly and simmer for approximately 2 hours – or until meat is tender.

Cavatelli Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 10 oz. ricotta
  • 1 tsp. salt

Cavatelli Cooking Instructions

  1. Pour the flour on a table or cutting board and make a well in the middle.
  2. Add the ricotta, salt, and beaten egg.
  3. Slowly pull all of the ingredients together with your hands and knead the dough for 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Lightly flour and cover the dough with plastic wrap, then let it rest for at least an hour.
  5. Cut 2 oz. pieces of dough and roll into long dowels. Let dowels rest an additional hour after cutting.
  6. Cut each dowel into 1/2 inch pieces and cook in salted, boiling water for 10 minutes.

Toss the boar ragout with the cavatelli and sauté for a few minutes,  allowing the pasta to absorb the ragout – serve with Pecorino Romano cheese.