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Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin

Delicate pork tenderloin is the extra-lean meat adjacent to the loin. This tasty, supple little muscle has a tendency to dry out quickly during cooking and can go from perfectly pink to dry and mealy the second you turn your back on the sauté pan. Our solution is to provide the tenderloin with a protective layer of much-needed fat in the form of rich, salty pancetta. As the tenderloin roasts, the pancetta crisps, basting the lean muscle with its fat so that it remains moist and infusing it with its robust flavor. Roasted radicchio is an excellent accompaniment.

Ingredients:

  • 1 trimmed pork tenderloin, about 1 lb. (450 g)
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. white wine
  • 3 to 4 Tbs. (about 10 g) finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • About 2 oz. (55 g) thinly sliced pancetta

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 425°F (220°C).

Season the pork tenderloin on all sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard and wine. Using a pastry brush or your hands, cover the tenderloin liberally with the mix. Sprinkle the rosemary evenly over the meat.

Lay a 10-inch (25-cm) square sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper on a work surface. Neatly cover the paper with the pancetta slices, overlapping them by about 1/2 inch (12 mm). Lay the tenderloin 1 inch (2.5 cm) in from the edge of the sheet closest to you, placing it parallel to the edge. Fold the bottom 1 inch (2.5 cm) over the tenderloin and then roll the paper around the tenderloin. The pancetta should be tightly wrapped around the meat. Remove the paper.

Set a roasting rack on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and place the tenderloin on the rack. Roast until the pancetta is golden and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest part of the meat registers 140°F (60°C), about 20 minutes.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice into rounds 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Serves 2 or 3.

Adapted from In the Charcuterie, by Taylor Boetticher & Toponia Miller (Ten Speed Press, 2013).