Porchetta is something you’ll find in every Italian cookbook, and it looks extremely impressive. And while it can take some skill to roll the pork loin properly, and make sure it’s tied up so that none of the stuffing falls out, it’s not as hard as it looks.
I’ve only made porchetta once or twice, but on a girls trip to Italy, I decided a home-cooked meal loved by Italians everywhere was the way to go. We had a lovely, big kitchen in the villa we were renting, and all the herbs were growing right outside in the garden.
I was also lucky enough to have a food processor in the kitchen, otherwise you’re going to have to do a lot of grunt work with the pestle and mortar for the filling. It’ll be worth it though, I promise.
The week we had in Italy was truly remarkable. We had a whiplash 20 hours in Rome, where we did the “big stuff”: Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and Vatican City. Then we headed up to Tuscany for a week in an incredible villa, that I can do nothing but rave about. The villa was based in Castiglion Fiorentino, and was big enough to sleep 8 people. The view was spectacular, and we made good use of the pool! You can find them on Air BnB, if you’re interested. We all had a fabulous time.
I also really enjoyed making dinner for 6 people, rather than just myself (or the occasional guest/parent), it was such an accomplishment to make the meal and see everyone completely devour it all. I want to thank GlitterGirl, ScotGirl, Icy Cold Angel, Sxy Lil Drama Queen and The Princess for their help in the kitchen with prepping, photography, eating and cleaning.
I know you’re all anxious to see the recipe now, so I won’t leave you in suspense any longer. As a final word – feel free to serve the porchetta on a random serving platter, like the wooden one I found at our villa.
1 kg pork tenderloin
6 rashers thick pancetta bacon
1 bulb of garlic, plus 4 cloves
5 springs of rosemary
5 fresh sage leaves
1 large fennel
1 lemon, zested
2 tbsps olive oil
200 g green beans
500 g potatoes
2 tbsps butter
- Peel and mince the 4 cloves of garlic, and place in a mortar or food processor. Chop up the sage leaves and add to the garlic. Add leaves from one sprig of rosemary, the lemon zest, fronds from the fennel, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grind with the pestle, or pulse through the food processor until a paste is formed.
- Take your pork tenderloin, and slice it half, length ways almost to the end so that it opens up like a book. Rub the paste onto the tenderloin, and then roll in up into a fat sausage. Wrap the pancetta around the tenderloin, and tie with string so that it does not come unrolled. Place open side down, and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour prior to cooking.
- When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 190°C. If using a larger cut of pork, the tenderloin will need longer, but a 1 kg tenderloin wrapped in pancetta, at 190°C should need 2 and a half hours. Place the pork in a large baking dish, and place in the oven.
- Meanwhile, get a large pot of water on the boil. Peel and chop the potatoes, and place them in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain them into a colander and give them a good shake to get fluffy exteriors.
- Clean and trim the green beans, and slice the fennel into 1/2 cm thick pieces. Chop the top off of the garlic bulb.
- When there is only 1 hour of cooking left for the pork, add the potatoes, remaining sprigs of rosemary and the garlic bulb into the same baking dish as the pork. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Put back into the oven.
- Place the green beans and fennel in a separate baking tray. Add the butter, and season with salt and pepper. Place the green beans and fennel into the oven for 20 minutes.
- When the pork is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest while you place the potatoes, garlic, green beans and fennel into serving dishes.
- Once rested, slice the porchetta into 1 cm thick pieces, and serve.