December 22, 2014

Italian Roast Pork Loin (Porchetta)

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Along the well worn path between Kim’s Airstream and my kitchen comes yet another fabulous recipe. Let me set the scene: It’s cold out, snow on the ground, and Kim decides he just HAS to make his Italian Roast Pork Loin. Who am I to stand in the way, right? Soon the whole house is filled with the divine aroma of garlic and rosemary–the perfect combination I’m thinking. And it was so, so good that I recommend it to all of you. Here’s his recipe:

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Italian Roast Pork Loin (Porchetta)

by Kim Moss

Some of my fondest memories of Italy are entering a trattoria from a cold and damp Winter street, to the warmth and smell of a porchetta turning slowly on a spit in front of a wood fire, its drippings falling onto roasted potatoes below.

Center cut pork loin
2 T fresh rosemary sprigs
1 head of garlic
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
Good olive oil
Butcher’s twine


Oven to 400 – middle rack

In this recipe I used a 5 pound center cut pork loin with the bone in. Try to find one with much of the fat still intact. You can cook it as I did with the bone in, or have your butcher remove it. Either way is fine, but easier to slice later with the bone out. I find it dries out slightly less with the bone in.

Break the garlic into cloves, remove outer skin and place in food processor.  Strip leaves from the rosemary and add to the garlic.

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Grind 1 teaspoon of fresh pepper, a teaspoon of sea salt and add to the food processor.

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Add 1/4 cup of olive oil.

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Pulse till everything is in small bits but not fine. Put aside and work on the pork.

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Place the pork loin on a cutting board fat side up. With a long sharp knife make a length wise cut starting on the edge of the fat…

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… working under the fat in a gradual spiral… growing thicker as you proceed around till reaching about half way, as in the photo:

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Open the cut meat flat…

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… and with your hand take half the garlic rosemary mixture and rub it liberally over the open flap:

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Close the flap…

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… and keep it in place with 3 or 4 ties of butcher’s twine:

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Use the rest of the garlic rosemary, rubbing well over the exterior, bottom and ends, and place in a roasting pan.

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I use a variety of pans for roasting, all with good results. I used an old strapped roasting pan this time, but often I use a large cast iron fry pan. I don’t use a rack, and many times such as this, throw cut potatoes around the meat to roast.

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I usually turn them and remove them when browned, before the meat is finished.

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I start the cooking at 400 for 20 minutes, then turn down to 350 for another hour or hour and a half, till thermometer reads around 150. Remove and let rest for 15 minutes. It will continue to cook a bit.

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Italians love the porchetta the next day, cold, as much as the first. Served either sliced thinly on a plate with good olive oil, or in a sandwich, this delicious roast goes on and on.

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