Gennaro Contaldo’s porchetta
- September 2015
- Serves 12-14
- Hands-on time 25 min, oven time 3 hours 30 min, plus resting
Traditionally in Italy, porchetta is a whole young pig flled with lots of fresh herbs and slow-roasted. Gennaro Contaldo’s recipe uses pork belly for a similar effect.
- 72.6g (25.2g saturated)
- 26.9g (7.9g sugars)
- 5kg British free-range whole pork belly, bones removed and skin scored well (ask your butcher to do this for you; the trimmed weight is around 3kg)
- 25g coarse sea salt
- Large handful fresh thyme, roughly chopped
- Large handful fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
- Large handful fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 baking potatoes, cut into chunks (no need to peel)
- 8 small carrots, cut into chunks
- 6 tbsp clear honey
You’ll also need…
- Kitchen string
- 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 half the salt and lots of ground black pepper, rubbing it well into the meat. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
- Cut 10 lengths of string, each about 30cm long (or see Cook School for an alternative tying method). Sprinkle the herbs, fennel seeds and garlic over the pork. Carefully roll up the from one of the long ends, 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 1 tbsp of the olive oil all over the joint (see Know-how), then rub in the remaining salt and some ground black pepper. Grease a large roasting tin with the remaining 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 15 minutes (see Know-how).
- Turn the oven down to 150°C/ 130°C fan/gas 2 and cover the pork with foil. Roast for another 3 hours, adding the potatoes and carrots to the roasting tin after 1½ hours.
- Remove the roasting tin from the oven and turn the oven to low. Lift the pork onto a carving board. Brush the honey over the pork and spoon over some of the juices from the roasting tin. Toss the veg in the pan to coat in the remaining cooking juices, then keep warm in a low oven. Leave the pork to rest for 5 minutes, then slice and serve hot or at room temperature with the roasted vegetables.
Prepare the porchetta to the end of step 2, then keep covered overnight in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before continuing with step 3.
In Italy, the skin of porchetta is served crisp, but not crackled like classic British roast pork. If you do want to crackle it, though, don’t rub the olive oil into the skin (step 3) – crackling works best when the skin is dry. Keep the oven temperature high when you turn the joint, and cook it for 25 minutes or so before turning the heat down again (step 4). Keep the total cooking time the same as is stated in the recipe.
Three kilos may seem like an enormous amount of pork belly but the meat shrinks a lot when it’s cooking.
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