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Herbed Pork Involtini with Pecorino

Involtini, thin slices of meat filled, rolled and tied before cooking, are an Italian favorite. Fillings can vary from a simple bread-and-herb mix to more exotic flavors. This recipe calls for adding pancetta or bacon to the filling—along with plenty of cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices pork loin, each about 1/4 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh sage, plus 8 whole leaves
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 8 pancetta or bacon slices
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

Directions:

One at a time, place the pork slices between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Using a meat pounder, pound 1/8 inch thick.

In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, minced sage, thyme, 3/4 tsp. of the salt and 1/2 tsp. of the pepper. Add the egg and egg yolk and stir together to make a sticky mass.

Lay a slice of pancetta down the center of each pork slice. Top with about one-eighth of the filling, spreading it beyond the pancetta slightly. Fold in both sides of the pork slice to cover the stuffing partially, then roll up the pork, holding the edges as you work to keep the roll snug. Place a sage leaf lengthwise on the roll, then secure the roll and the leaf with 3 bands of kitchen string. Repeat with the remaining pork slices.

In a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot just large enough to hold the rolls in a single layer, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Place a colander over a plate or bowl. Put 2 pork rolls in the colander and sprinkle with a few Tbs. of flour. Shake the colander, leaving only a light dusting of flour on the rolls. Transfer to a plate. Repeat to flour the remaining pork rolls. Add the rolls to the pot and cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides and firm when pressed with your fingertip, about 10 minutes. Transfer the rolls to a plate.

Add the wine to the pot, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Stir in the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and return the rolls to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, turning the rolls twice, until the liquid reduces to a thick sauce, about 15 minutes. Transfer the rolls to a warmed platter. Snip the strings and serve the pork immediately. Pass the sauce at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cheese, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2010).