Porchetta is amazing. What could possibly be better than delicious, moist, herb-laden pork wrapped in savory, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly capped with basically what amounts to cracklins? Nothing. Nothing can top that.
However, Porchetta is normally a 15 pound, 3 day endeavor. This recipe substantially shortens the prep and cook time—and leaves you with a reasonable portion which will feed a family of 6, instead of 16, because we're going to butterfly the porkbelly and use a tenderloin instead of a standard boneless loin. —Clair Gu
pork belly, in one piece (probably about 8"x10")
Combine all ingredients from garlic through to black pepper in a food processor and pulse until smooth and paste-like in consistency. Should smell very fragrant. Set aside.
Take the pork belly and place it skin-side up on a cutting board. Using your sharpest serrated knife, butterfly the pork belly (horizontally cut, sandwich-style) up to about 1 inch before the end of the meat. open the meat and season the inside thoroughly with salt and pepper. Stab all over with a knife to tenderize. Flip the meat over to be skin side up.
With a meat mallet (or a pair of heavy tongs work, too), bash the skin side for 2-3 minutes vigorously. Then, using a very sharp non-serrated knife, score the skin to make a checkerboard pattern, very carefully, making sure to not slice all the way through the meat. Season thoroughly with salt and pepper, making certain to get the salt down into the score marks. Set the belly aside.
Pat the tenderloin dry with a paper towel and then slather the tenderloin in the meat rub you made earlier. If there is any left over, rub it on the inside of the pork belly.
To construct the porchetta: Open the pork belly with the skin side down. Turn the belly so that the skin side is furthest away from you and down. Fold the tender loin in half to fit the belly piece, and roll the edge of the pork belly over the tenderloin and continue to roll, like a roulade. The skin should end up on top of the roast, facing up! Tightly tie the roast in at least three places. Set the roast, skin side up, in a well-seasoned cast iron skillet.
Preheat the oven to 500 F. Bake the roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The top of the roast will be starting to look brown and crusty. Reduce the heat to 300 F, and cook for another 30-45 minutes, until an internal thermometer reads 140 F. You want the tenderloin to be perfect medium doneness. Let the roast rest for 15 minutes before trimming off the twine and slicing into rounds.