A Classic Holiday Celebration – Italian Porchetta


  • 1 ea – fresh porchetta roast with the skin (ask your reputable butcher) weighing 8 to 10 lbs.
  • As needed – Kosher or sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 8 oz – Pancetta, diced large
  • 2 T each  – fresh rosemary and sage ( roughly chopped )
  • 2 T – Red chili flakes
  • 4 ea – Garlic cloves
  • 1 B – Flat leaf parsley, stems and all.
  • 2 oz – Fennel pollen (if you can source it) at least 1 oz – it makes a tremendous difference !  If not, 2 T fennel seeds, toasted and ground.
  • Zest from one orange, and 3 lemons.
  • 2 T – capers
  • As needed – Good quality extra virgin olive oil


Prepare the Porchetta

Open the piece of pork onto the butcher paper or clean countertop, skin side up.  Using a sharp knife cross-hatch the skin just enough to score.  Do not cut deep enough to cut into the meat.  Now turn over so it is skin side down.

Sprinkle reasonably with the salt and pepper, and work into the pork.

Take the next 8 ingredients ( ie through the capers ) and using a food processor, make into a paste ( about 60 seconds ).  Rub the paste over approximately 75% of the inside of the belly ( ie that which is meat ), leaving the end where it is just skin, exposed ).

Roll it fairly tightly so as to be snug.  Continue rolling until you reach the end.  Tie with kitchen twine approximately every inch and a half over the whole length, keeping the seam side down. The goal is only to keep the porchetta closed, so don’t tie it too tightly, either.

Finish the Preparation and Roast

Place seam side down on a rack on a roasting pan, or even better on a bed of carrots you have cut in half lengthwise.  Add  a quartered onion or two, 2 C of water, and 1 C of white wine to the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and rub all over the skin with your hands. Sprinkle with more salt and rosemary.

Preheat the oven to 325*F.

Place in the hot oven when it comes to temperature and roast for about 90 minutes.  Then raise the temperature to 400* F, and cook for 20 – 30 minutes to crisp the skin only.  You will need to watch it every 10 minutes or so at this point.  The center of the roast should reach 170°F.   Remove from the oven, and rest 15 – 20 minutes.

Using a sharp knife, remove one or two of the pieces of twine. Cut into slices and serve with juices / gravy and your chosen sides !!