First cooked porchetta at the Mugnaini wood fired cooking school in Tuscany. Outdoors, playing bocce, drinking Prosecco, but ah well, back to the recipe. In Italy they stuffed a suckling pig with pork loin and proceeded onward. Andrea Mugnaini shows us how in "The Art of Wood Fired Cooking", Gibbs Smith, 2010. The whole pig seemed a bit much for household use so I looked around. In September of 2011 Bon Appetit provided a great recipe coupled with excellent instructions and pictures. After trying it once I married the two recipes and added some different spices, port and other ingredients. The result is a show stopper. It takes about an hour to assemble and then marinates uncovered in its own spices for at least two days to totally make the skin crisp. Roasting is simple and slicing beautiful rounds of porchetta is a snap. The good news is that a slice fried the next day and served on a ciabatta roll or baguette with a little mustard is killer good. —smbpc
2 to 3 pound boneless, pork loin
garlic cloves, minced
port or alcohol of choice
orange, thinly sliced, rind removed if too thick
1. Put belly skin side down, trim ragged edges and remove top layer of meat and fat to make thickness relatively even. Flip belly skin side up. Using a paring knife, poke dozens of 1/8"-deep holes through skin all over belly. Don't be gentle! Keep poking.
2. Using the jagged edge of a meat mallet, pound skin all over for 3 minutes to tenderize, which will help make skin crispy when roasted. Turn belly skin side down. Score meat in a crosshatch pattern about ½ inch deep
3. Rub the meat with porchetta spice mixture and sprinkle with kosher salt and ground pepper. Sprinkle meat with parsley and then a very thin sprinkling of Panko. Lay out orange slices on meat.
4. Unroll the pork loin by cutting a half inch slice lengthwise and then unroll by cutting to the side so the loin is rolled out, essentially flat. Slash loin and season as you did the pork belly, leaving out the orange slices.
5. Roll up loin to original shape and place in center of belly. Trim belly so pork loin runs to the edges of the belly. Roll belly around loin so the short ends of the belly meet. If any of the belly or loin overhangs, trim meat. It may help to trim on end of the belly down to skin level so you have a 1-inch flap of skin only to overlap.
6. Tie at frequent intervals. Rub outside well with spice mixture. Refrigerate roast on a wire rack over a pan, uncovered, for 1-2 days to allow skin to air-dry, pat occasionally with paper towels.
7. Let porchetta sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 475°/450 Conv. Roast on rack in baking sheet, turning once, for 40 minutes. You may want to pour out accumulated grease at this point so you get some useable drippings. Reduce heat to 300°/275 conv. and continue roasting, rotating the pan and turning porchetta occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 145°, 1 1/2-2 hours more. If skin is not yet deep brown and crisp, increase heat to 500° and roast for 10 minutes more. Let rest for 30 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice into 1/2" rounds.
Mix together spices and store in an airtight container. Use for the preparation of Porchetta and other pork dishes.