January: Porchetta

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Porchetta finish with glaze with script

Buon giorno!

New Year’s Day is one for treading softly and speaking in muted tones in deference to those who might not be able to process shouting from the rooftops after a night of too much.. well.. everything. Since I am not the type of celebrator who needs coddling on this day – I may get a little, shall we say, enthusiastic in tone here , so you may want to protect your tender ears for a moment. Actually, I can’t shout loudly enough about this one and my family would back me up on my exuberance for this recipe. PORCHETTA is a divine dish to serve and enjoy. It makes a beautiful presentation for not a lot of effort — just a little time!

What is PORCHETTA exactly? This is an Italian rolled boneless pork preparation which in its purest form requires a HUGE process which includes gutting the pig, rolling, stuffing, spicing, and covering with belly fat etc and accompanied by a long roasting time.  It is a most flavorful preparation and makes absolutely incredible sandwiches.

Origins? The region of Lazio, where Rome is located, is given credit for the beginnings of this amazing pork preparation. However, you can easily find PORCHETTA in most other regions of Italy with variations depending upon area.

Are we REALLY going to gut a pig?? Uh, no!

My PORCHETTA is much easier. In fact, you will love making and serving this one so much, it will become a regular favorite for you, your family, and your amazed guests! This makes a spectacular holiday dish or one for a special dinner party.

I love using pork tenderloins from Circle B Ranch – humanely raised natural Berkshire Pork. They ship and there really is a difference in their extraordinary pork products – so much flavor – just the right amount of fat.

Let’s get to the pig!


Makes: about 8 thickly cut slices usually serving 4

Prep: 40 minutes

Cook: about 30 minutes


One 1-1 1/3 lb. Pork Tenderloin, patted dry with paper towels

Kosher Salt and Fresh Pepper

1 lb. Loose Italian Sausage (out of the casings) and browned in a pan

1 8 oz. Jar Fig Jam or Preserves (found often in the cheese section) or Apricot Preserves

1 Jar Roasted Red Peppers ( or roast your own), patted dry with paper towels

Whole fresh Basil leaves

8 oz. Fresh or Smoked Mozzarella, sliced thinly

Good quality bacon

Butcher’s twine or string

Fresh stalks of Rosemary

Saba or Balsamic Glaze for drizzling to serve


Porchetta 1

Begin by butterflying your pork tenderloin with a sharp knife. This is easier than you think, but if you must – ask your butcher to do it for you. To butterfly, slide your knife through the meat vertically down the side about 1/2 way through – not all the way. Open the meat so you now see the inside.Then take your knife and make another vertical cut all the way down the side of the meat on one of the thick sides not all the way through. You will actually watch the meat open up further. Repeat this again until the meat is fully opened and about 1/2 inch thick.

Then using a meat mallet or heavy can of tomatoes, pound the meat so it is thin and flatter.

Porchetta 3

Salt and pepper the inside. Then spread the inside with the fig preserves.

Porchetta 4

Line the inside over the preserves with the Basil Leaves.

Porchetta 5

Follow with the cooked sausage that has been drained and patted a little after browning.

Porchetta 2

Add the roasted peppers.

Porchetta 6

Then add the slices of mozzarella.

Porchetta 7

Now with the meat in front of you horizontally, carefully roll it forward onto itself, pushing the stuffing in with your fingers until it is completely rolled. It takes usually just one or two rolls as it is pretty full. Tuck in the two ends to try to cover the stuffing.

Porchetta rolled

Cover the roll with bacon slices, tucking the extra underneath.

Porchetta 9

Cut several lengths of the string – about 8 inches each. Taking one string at a time, slide it under the roll and tie it at several intervals down the roll. You can even do one long vertical tie at the end to secure it.(Can refrigerate several hours)

Porchetta 11

Place stalks of rosemary over the top of the roll and place it in an oiled pan in a 450 degree oven.

Porchetta 13

Cook until a meat thermometer registers about 150 degrees. (The time depends on your oven – approximately 30 minutes) Remove from oven and let it rest about 15 minutes. Cut the strings off the roll and discard them.

Porchetta finish without glaze with script

Slice the roll thickly and serve one or two slices to each person, drizzled with Saba or Balsamic Glaze. (Saba is a wonderful Balsamic-like liquid made totally from grapes reduced to “must”. It is valued much like a long aged Balsamic Vinegar and used in much the same way.)

You might want to make two and freeze one!


  Comments are welcome in the “Speak Your Mind Area” beneath this post online.



Food Photos By Tommy Hanks Photography


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