This is a savoury, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. The body of the pig is gutted, deboned, arranged carefully with layers of herbs, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood. Porchetta is usually heavily salted in addition to being stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel and other herbs, often wild. Traditionally in Italy, porchetta is a whole young pig, filled with lots of fresh herbs and slow-roasted. Our recipe uses pork belly for a similar effect but nothing beats the real thing.
- 5kg Whole pork belly, bones removed and skin scored well, trim off excess fat (ask your butcher to do this for you; the trimmed weight is around 3kg)
- 25g coarse sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 2 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp Fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp Fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/ gas 7. Lay the pork belly flat on a work surface, skin-side down. Sprinkle with salt and lots of ground black pepper, rubbing it well into the meat with your hands. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the herbs, fennel seeds and garlic over the pork evenly. Next tie up the meat. You will need ten pieces of string, each about 30cm/12 inches long. Carefully roll up the meat widthways, then tie very tightly with string in the middle of the roll. Tie at either end, about 1cm in, then keep tying at intervals along the roll until all the lengths of string have been used up. If any filling escapes, push it back in. Massage extra virgin olive oil all over the joint, then rub in salt and some ground black pepper.
Grease a large roasting tin with olive oil, then add the pork. Roast for 15 minutes with the seam facing upwards. Turn the pork and continue to cook, seam-side down, for another 15 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 150°C and cover the pork with foil. Roast for 3 hours. Leave the pork to rest for 5 minutes once removed from the oven, then slice and serve hot or at room temperature. Serve with roast potatoes and vegetables or as we like to do, make a porchetta sandwich, add the slices of porchetta to a bread roll and enjoy.