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Crunchy Italian Porchetta Recipe

Italian porchetta may be the best pork you ever eat. It is incredibly flavorful, tender and uses very few ingredients so you can quickly put this recipe together.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Once you see how easy it is to make perfect porchetta, you will find yourself making this recipe all the time! Porchetta is fantastic for use on sandwiches, serving as an appetizer, or as a full dinner alongside some roasted potatoes and seared broccoli. It is always a good time for a beautiful spiral piece of juicy meat!

Porchetta roast. Photo credit: istockphoto.com

Easy Porchetta Recipe

If you have ever tried authentic Italian porchetta, then you know how delicious and irresistible it is. The juicy, perfectly seasoned meat is irresistible. But the secret to a fantastic porchetta is to keep it simple. You do not need to add too many crazy ingredients to the dish to make it taste good. simple is better!

Porchetta is classically made from whole suckling pig but this can be quite difficult to find in a regular grocery store or butcher. Many people simply use pork belly, a fattier part of the suckling pig that is ideal for slow roasting. All that fat turns into the most tender meat you will ever eat! Plus, using a pork belly with the skin on just adds even more flavor.

Many people make porchetta using pork shoulder or pork loin which can work too. But, if you really want to make an authentic Italian porchetta recipe, you need that pork belly! We will talk a little bit about how to make other cuts of pork work for this recipe later on but first, let’s look at our flawless pork bell roll and how to make a true, beautiful porchetta.

Cooked porchetta on a baking tray. Photo credit: istockphoto.com

Ingredients for Porchetta

In order to make the perfect porchetta, you need to really understand the ingredients you will be using. We wanted to dive into the ingredients a little bit more so you are sure to have everything you need on hand.

  • Pork Belly – A good piece of pork belly with the skin still on is the basis of porchetta. You can find pork belly at a local butcher. It may not be sold in a regular grocery store but you may also be able to request this specific piece of meat. Make sure the pork looks light pink and the skin is not too dried out.

  • Kosher salt – You can also use sea salt for this recipe. Coarse salt is best for seasoning meat and extracting the juices from the meat. Plus, it helps make the meat taste sweeter and more flavorful.

  • Fresh rosemary – Porchetta is traditionally seasoned with rosemary. Fresh herbs are always the most flavorful but, if needed, you can use dried rosemary in place of fresh.

  • Ground black pepper – Freshly ground black pepper is the best ingredient for complimenting the pork. Many people also like to use red pepper flakes but, if you are not a huge fan of spice, skip the red pepper as they can be quite hot.

  • Olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil is best. This will help the pork skin get crispy and golden brown.

Our Italian porchetta recipe uses very simple ingredients so be sure to get the highest quality ingredients possible. You will taste the difference!

Sliced porchetta on a cutting board. Photo credit: istockphoto.com

Variations

There are a few recipe variations we wanted to mention. Our authentic recipe sticks to the traditional, basic way to cook porchetta. However, there are a few ways to tweak this recipe that have become popular over the years. Give these variations and alterations a try if you’d like to make porchetta with a twist!

  • Sprinkle the porchetta with fresh lemon zest when you season it with the rosemary. Lemon zest adds a bright, bold flavor that compliments the complex, savory taste of the pork.

  • If you do not have a pork belly, use a similar-sized pork shoulder or pork butt. Make sure to buy a pork roast that has the skin on. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross-hatch pattern across the skin of the pork before seasoning, stopping the cuts at the fat layer. This will allow the seasonings to really get into the meat. You won’t need to tie the pork shoulder loin roast as it is one solid piece of meat rather than a roll.

  • A pork tenderloin will also work to make porchetta but it will not be quite as juicy as a real, authentic pork roast. Tenderloin does not have pork belly skin or as much fat as a pork belly. However, this can be a good substitute in a pinch.

  • Fennel seed, minced garlic, fresh sage, or even fennel fronds can all be used to season the pork belly roll. Add the spice mixture of your choice to the meat before rolling it and tying it. All of these seasonings will add incredible flavor that will complement the cooked pork.

    Pork Belly. Photo credit: istockphoto.com

How to Make Italian Porchetta

Porchetta is actually quite easy to make. Once you have your ingredients on hand, here is what you need to do:

  1. Season the meat: Lay the pork belly on a flat work surface and rub the kosher salt, rosemary, and ground black pepper into the meat. Add any fennel seeds, fronds, or lemon zest at this time as well, if using.

  2. Roll: Roll the meat lengthwise, making it as tight as possible. Then tie the pork roll tightly using butcher twine. You will need to tie the pork with about 5-6 strings.

  3. Prepare: Place a baking rack onto a rimmed baking sheet or deep roasting pan. You want to use a rimmed pan as there will be quite a lot of pan sauce that drips off the pork as it cooks. Place the pork roll on the rack, seam side down. Drizzle with olive oil then let the meat sit at room temperature while the oven heats.

  4. Bake: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the baking tray in the hot oven and bake for 1 hour. Keeping the pork in the oven, lower the oven temperature and continue to bake until the internal temperature is 170 degrees F.

  5. Cool and Serve: Place the pork roast on a cutting board then let the cooked porchetta sit for about 10 minutes. Then, slice and serve porchetta while it is warm!

Pretty simple, right?! It is amazing how the easiest recipes are often the best. You don’t have to be a master chef to make this fantastic pork roast!

Porchetta ties with butchers twine. Photo credit: istockphoto.com

How to Serve Italian Porchetta

Once you have a perfectly cooked porchetta, it is time to eat! Porchetta is most commonly eaten as a sandwich. A porchetta panino is one of the best Italian foods ever. Drizzle some of the pan drippings on the sandwich bread to make it soft and to add even more flavor. Make sure to get that crispy skin into the sandwich as well for a delicious texture and taste.

Cut thick slices of the rolled porchetta and serve it with some roasted potatoes and a side of vegetables. Sprinkle the cut of meat with a little fresh flat leaf parsley for a beautiful garnish. Use the pan sauce to make a gravy that you can pour on top of the roast pork. Add a simple green salad and you have a perfect meal.

Porchetta panino in a stack. Photo credit: istockphoto.com

How to Store Roasted Pork Belly

If you have leftover porchetta, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat the porchetta in a hot oven or quickly in the microwave. You can also toss it into a saute pan with a little olive oil. Reheat the pan over medium-high heat in the skillet to make the skin crispy again.

You can freeze porchetta if desired. Keep the meat tightly wrapped and it will last for about three months in the freezer. Anytime you crave a porchetta panino, you can thaw your all belly porchetta and enjoy it! It will be absolutely delicious!

For another delicious recipe, check out our Italian carpaccio, it’s an easy and light meal for any occasion.

Italian Porchetta Recipe Feature Image - 1390x600

Italian Porchetta

Italian porchetta may be the best pork you ever eat. It is incredibly flavorful, tender and uses very few ingredients so you can quickly put this recipe together.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 320 kcal

Equipment

  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Butchers twine
  • Roasting pan with rack
  • Meat thermometer

Ingredients
  

  • 8 pound pork belly with skin on
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Place the pork belly on a clean work surface and open it up flat with the skin side down.
  • Sprinkle the pork with the salt and gently rub the salt into the pork.
  • Sprinkle the rosemary and pepper over the pork and rub it into the meat as well.
  • Roll the pork belly up tightly, making a spiral.
  • Use butcher's twine or string to tie the pork roast closed, Make sure you double knot the string so it stays closed during cooking. Tie a string around the pork every 2 inches so it is very secure.
  • Place the roast seam side down on a rack inside a roasting pan or baking tray with an edge. Sprinkle some more salt and pepper over the roast then drizzle it with olive oil. Rub the oil over the roast so it is completely coated. Let the prepared pork belly sit at room temperature while your oven heats.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • Roast the pork in the oven for one hour then lower the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F (170 degrees C) and continue to cook for another 2 hours. The internal temperature of the meat should be 170 degrees F(76 degrees C) on a meat thermometer.
  • Let the meat rest for 10 minutes and then use a sharp knife to slice and serve.
Keyword Porchetta, Pork Roast

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the food images displayed on this website are for illustrative purposes only. They do not represent the actual dishes or presentations you might achieve when following our recipes. While we strive to inspire your culinary journey, the appearance of your dishes may vary.

Frequent Asked Questions

Porchetta was originally made with whole pig but it is now more common to see it made with pork belly. Pork shoulder is another cut commonly used for porchetta. You may even see it cooked with pork tenderloin. However, that thick skin and layer of fat that is on the pork belly is the best fo making porchetta!

Porchetta, also called porquette in France, is a savory boneless pork roast. It is traditionally cooked over wood but is more commonly slow-roasted in a hot oven for several hours.

Both porchetta and porketta are Italian roasted pork. However, porchetta is made with pork belly and lots of seasoning. Porchetta also has a crispy, thick skin that helps make the meat nice and juicy. Porchetta is made with fewer seasonings and also pork shoulder or pork loin. It is not quite as tender as classic porchetta.

Porchetta is flavoured with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Many porchetta recipes also use fennel seed or fennel fronds, crushed red pepper flakes, or lemon zest as additional flavourings.

Italians traditionally eat porchetta as part of a sandwich. Porchetta panino is a classic Italian dish made with nothing but bread and porchetta meat. Sometimes people add pickles or antipasti vegetables but it is typically eaten plain. That juicy meat doesn’t need anything additional!

Porketta and porchetta both needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. Pork is considered safe to eat at just 145 degrees, however, you want your porchetta to be extremely tender and juicy. 170 degrees F is the temperature at which the cartilage in the meat will be broken down and the meat will no longer be chewy. Use a digital meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the pork so you do not have to continue to open the oven as the porchetta cooks.

Pancetta is a cured pork belly that is very similar to bacon. Unlike bacon, pancetta is unsmoked and usually seasoned with herbs and spices. It is often cut into small pieces and used for salads, sauces, or soups.

Porchetta, on the other hand, is a slow-roasted pork belly that is seasoned, rolled, and roasted. It is usually eaten warm on sandwiches or served as a main course. While both pancetta and porchetta are both Italian meats made with pork belly, they are prepared differently and used in different ways.

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