There are several different ways to cook and prepare this roast. Some, instead of placing the chopped herbs along the bone, make half-inch incisions all over the meat and place a little garlic and rosemary in these; others prefer not to do this for the sake of appearance when the pork is sliced. Some use a boneless cut and slice this thinly; in this version, it is sliced thickly using the bones as a guide. The roast can be cooked in a moderately high oven, but this slow roasted version guarantees moist, juicy meat that otherwise has a tendency to easily dry out.
If you're not roasting peeled and chopped potatoes in the juices of this roast that collect on the bottom of the pan, you are missing out on one of the best kept secrets of Tuscan cuisine. Some blanched greens (Tuscan kale, chard, or any other sturdy green leaf) or cooked cannellini beans tossed through those juices make wonderful sides to this dish too.
Simple enough for a family meal but elegant enough to impress guests, try this versatile pork roast for your next Sunday roast. —Emiko
Remove the pork from the fridge and let come to room temperature about at hour before preparing. In the meantime, cut along the bone as if you were going to cut the bone off completely, but leave about an inch still attached. Rub the pork all over with olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine the finely chopped garlic, lemon zest, and herbs and rub this all over the incision made between the bone and the meat, patting down the herbs. Make a 1 inch incision between each rib bone and thread kitchen string/ butcher's twine through these incisions to tie the roast tightly and hold it together.
Place the roast on a metal cooling rack, inserted inside a deep baking tray, skin-side up. Pour water in the bottom of the tray (if you prefer, you can use white wine, and in this case, pour it all over the roast and let it drip into the tray). Roast for 3 1/2 to 4 hours at 195º F (90º C) -- if you have a meat thermometer, you're looking for the interior to be about 150º F (65º C).
Remove from the oven, turn up the heat to 430º F (220° C) and cook another 5 minutes to crisp the skin. Rest for at least 15 minutes, uncovered, before slicing into thick slices and serving. This is wonderful with roast potatoes (possibly roasted in the pan juices under the pork) or sautéed greens.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.