This is a delicious and “romantic” recipe that is great to prepare for an at home date or to prepare with your partner. It provides quality time in the kitchen and at the table!
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup packed fresh sage leaves
- ¼ cup packed fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1½ tbsp. cracked black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 2 strips orange zest, ½ x 2 inches
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or 3 more as needed
- 1 pork loin (3 lbs.)
- 4 slices pancetta, unrolled into long strips
- ciabatta rolls
- olive relish
- caramelized onions
- Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect cooking (medium-high heat of 375-400°F) or pre-heat oven to 375°F or set pellet smoker at 375°F.
- Place garlic, sage, rosemary, salt, pepper, fennel seeds and orange zest in a food processor and finely chop. Add in the lemon juice and enough olive oil to obtain a thick paste.
- Butterfly the pork loin: Place the pork loin on a cutting board. Using a sharp, slender knife, cut through from 1 side of the loin almost to the other side about ¾ inches from the bottom. Continue cutting and unrolling the loin until you have a flat piece of pork that’s evenly ¾ inch thick. Generously spread the inside of the pork with 2 – 3 tbsp. of the herb paste and roll the loin back together so it’s once again cylindrical. Generously spread the outside of the loin with more herb paste. Don’t forget to coat the ends. The loin should be coated with a 1/8 inch thick layer of paste. Set any left over paste aside for another use.
- Line four pieces of butchers twine , about 15 inch long, parallel “east to west”. Place one strip of pancetta down the center of the strings. Then place two more strips of pancetta on either side of the first. Arrange loin lengthwise on the middle strip of pancetta and place the remaining strip of pancetta on top of the loin. Pull the ends of each string up and over the loin and tie tightly to hold the pancetta and loin in place. Put the pork loin in a roasting pan.
- Roast the pork until sizzling and brown on the outside and cooked to taste, 1 to 1½ hours for medium. As the loin cooks, from time to time, spoon any juices that gather in the bottom of the pan over the meat.
- Transfer the porchetta to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Remove and discard strings, slice and formally serve over a bed of olive relish and caramelized onion or pile onto ciabatta rolls along with olive relish and caramelized onions.