Sunday Dinner

A Slow & Steady Roasted Pork Shoulder for Cozy Weekends In

Add stewed white beans and herby oil for the ultimate hands-off meal.

November 18, 2018

We're partnering with Lagostina to celebrate the Italian Sunday dinner with stories, recipes, and videos about this special family tradition. Here, food writer and cookbook author Colu Henry shares her go-to Sunday dinner recipe, a roasted pork shoulder with white beans and herbs.

When I was a little girl, I’d wake up nearly every Sunday morning to the smells and sounds of sputtering meatballs browning in olive oil, en route to becoming meat sauce for pasta. What an alarm clock that was! Needless to stay it didn’t take much for me to hastily throw off my covers and run downstairs for a unique type of “breakfast Italiano.”

Photo by Julia Gartland

The whole family (my nonni, or grandparents, lived with us growing up) would be drinking coffee around the kitchen table. We’d sit while the sauce simmered, listening to classical music on the radio, flipping through the paper (yes, I read the paper as a kid), and exchanging stories from the week. When we ate around 4 or 5 p.m., it was treated as a celebration to close out the week and start anew.

The importance of those meals stuck with me into adulthood, so when I was old enough to start hosting my own Sunday dinners, it was important to me to keep some of those traditions in place. I found that I too enjoyed making cooking an all day affair—but, that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

I generally gravitate towards cooking something oven-braised or “low and slow” for these types of meals, which means I’m able to go about getting organized for the week while dinner cooks without a lot of hands-on time. It also means—depending on who’s coming over—that I’ll likely have leftovers to reinvent for a number of meals, well, at least until Wednesday.

More often than not, the dish is Italian in nature, as that’s where my cooking philosophy is rooted. This slow-roasted pork shoulder with fennel and white beans is a perfect example; it needs nothing more than a simple salad of chicories dressed with grassy olive oil, anchovies, black pepper, and shaved pecorino to go alongside it. A bottle or two (or three) of a light-bodied red wine is also a nice addition, as is good company. Invite over the people that you love and toast to a good week ahead. Your Monday will be all the better for it.

Tips for pulling it all together

  • Make those beans ahead of time! They can be made and stored in their cooking liquid three to four days in advance. Gently reheat them over low heat with a bit of water or the reserved liquid.
  • You can swap in chicken, if you want. If pork is not your protein of choice, this recipe also works beautifully with a whole chicken and cuts the cooking time. Season the bird with the spices overnight and leave it uncovered in the fridge. Take it out about an hour before roasting and allow it to get to room temperature before putting it in the oven.
  • Guests always want a job. If you have dinner under control, ask them to open some wine, set the table, or put on some music—they’ll enjoy feeling like they’re helping you out.
  • Serve the meal in the cooking vessels they were made in. Not only does it cut down on dishes, but it encourages a fun, less formal vibe.

More Sunday Dinner Ideas

In partnership with Lagostina, the premium Italian cookware brand that values high-quality materials and time-honored craftsmanship, we're highlighting the #LagostinaSundayDinner with a new series all about the Italian tradition. Every Sunday, we'll share go-to Sunday recipes from some of our favorite chefs and cookbook authors.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Colu Henry

Written by: Colu Henry

1 Comment

Deborah S. November 19, 2018
Looking forward to making these. Great meatballs for a cold winter night.