Slow-Cooked Porchetta-Style Roast
Porchetta—highly seasoned, deboned, stuffed and roasted whole pig—is a marketplace staple in many parts of Italy. Here is a simplified home-cooked version that still has all the flavors of the original. Serve it as a main course or stuffed inside crusty rolls for lunch. The pork must be refrigerated overnight before cooking, so place an order with the butcher today for a butterflied pork shoulder and plan to make this for a dinner party later this week.
- 3 Tbs. fennel seeds, toasted
- 3 Tbs. coarse sea salt
- 3 Tbs. peppercorns
- 1 boneless pork shoulder, about 3 1/2 lb. (1.75 kg), butterflied by the butcher
- 4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbs. minced garlic
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary, plus 1 or 2 sprigs for garnish
- 2 Tbs. minced fresh sage, plus 1 or 2 sprigs for garnish
- 2 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
In a spice grinder or a mini food processor, combine the fennel seeds, salt and peppercorns and grind finely.
Lay the pork shoulder flat on a cutting board. Drizzle 2 Tbs. of the olive oil over the pork and rub to coat the entire surface. Sprinkle half of the fennel mixture over the pork, then sprinkle the garlic, minced rosemary, minced sage and lemon zest on top. Roll up the pork and tie securely with kitchen string at 1-inch (2.5-cm) intervals. Rub the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil over the outside of the pork and sprinkle with the remaining fennel mixture.
Place the pork on a rack set inside a roasting pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat an oven to 275°F (135°C).
Roast the pork, uncovered, until the top is deeply browned, the meat is fork-tender throughout and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 160° to 170°F (71° to 77°C), about 3 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Remove the kitchen string, slice the roast thinly or thickly, and transfer the slices to a serving platter. Spoon the pan juices on top and garnish with the rosemary and sage sprigs. Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams Sonoma Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti (Weldon Owen, 2015)