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Porchetta advice

I've been invited to what my friend is calling An Italian Lunch. She has the idea to set up long tables, covered in red and white checkered cloths, outside on her beautiful property where we would spend an afternoon eating until we can't eat anymore. This sounds wonderful. I've already committed to bringing all the bread - having become completely obsessed with my 5-Minute-A-Day Artisan Bread. I also think I want to make porchetta. I've hunted down a couple of recipes. The Zuni one looks wonderful and gets a lot of good comments here, but there's also one by Batali that seems interesting. The Batali one starts with a large boneless pork loin that you stuff with an almost sausage mixture, then roast. Although the Zuni recipe looks fabulous, the Batali one seems much more convenient in that it's easy to slice and can be served at room temperature. Does anyone have experience with this last one? Comments? Suggestions?

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  1. I've posted a lovely Batali one - but no sausage - that's served at room temp. Have made it several times w/great success. Let me know if you want me to find the link.

    Edit - here's the link:


    1. Can't comment on the Batali one, but I made the Mock Porchetta from Zuni twice now and the second time took it to a friend's for dinner and served it a room temp! We all lived to tell the tale! Frankly, I was surprised that the recipe did not suggest you could do that-it is both safe (what's to cause a problem?) and absolutely fantastic tasting. In fact, my recollection of porchetta sandwiches in Italy is that they were not served steaming hot.

      3 Replies
      1. re: LJS

        As a former Batali employee, I've had and served the Porchetta a few times. If you like, nah love pork, you'll love it. It was always met with rave reviews. We made it in a pigs leg, boneless with the hoof attached, really interesting presentation if you can get one. Good Luck!

        1. re: nypeaches

          was the hoof boneless as well? :)

          1. re: nypeaches

            Living out in the country as I do, I can probably get a pig's leg complete with hoof. Not sure if I'm ready to do that though. We are very much not vegetarian, but so many of our friends are that I think I would appall some very nice people. If I find a shoulder of pork, I'll do the Zuni version; if I find a big loin, I'll do the Batali. Will report.

        2. Grandma used to butterfly it, stuff it with parsley, whole garlic cloves, and wet day-old Italian bread, tied and slathered with olive oil, salt and pepper. She roasted it at 350 - but didn't kill it. It was finished at well-done and not dry. It was heavenly.

          1. I've done the Zuni, not the Batali version. It was really good. Does the pork loin have enough fat? Does the sausage stuffing fulfill that? Am I allowed to ask for the specific name of the Batali recipe to look up?

            3 Replies
            1. re: WCchopper

              Here's the Batali version: http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipe...

              To clarify, it's not actually "sausage" per se, but the mixture of ground pork and spices is technically the same as an Italian sausage. I suspect it's there to add fat to the lean loin. Actually, RGC1982's idea really appeals to me, but I think mostly because it reminds me of my mother's Hungarian stuffed roast breast of veal, which I adored.

              Anyway, I'll shop and see which meat is more available and then make my decision. I suspect it's as good a way of deciding as any.

              1. re: Nyleve

                Thanks for the link. I'm casting my vote with itryalot for the Zuni version with skin on pork shoulder. I've had people risk their dignity asking for 4ths of it at my house.

                1. re: WCchopper

                  I will see if I can get shoulder this week. It's just not always available in big hunks around where I live. Once in a while it turns up and I pick up a couple to throw in the chest freezer, but lately not so much. And my freezer contains none at the moment. Drat it all.

            2. I have made the Zuni one and have eliminated most of the sage and added fennel pollen. I used a gigantic pork shoulder with skin on. It was a HUGE hit. We, too, ate it at room temperature along with roasted veg. We used the juices to warm up and put on top of slices and in sandwich. I was able to slice it after it had reached room temperature. People fought for the crunchy skin. I used a coarse fleur de sel.
              The sausage recipe is so not appealing to me. I don't want the delicious flavour of porchetta competing with sausage.

              1. Gennaro Cataldo (Jamie Oliver's mentor) uses rolled pork belly, as does Nigel Slater.


                1. I've made porchetta a few times...using neither Zuni nor Batali's recipes...but inspired by the porchetta I've tasted around Italy. In Tuscany they use lots of garlic & sage, in Umbria they use more fennel, and in Lazio they tend to use more rosemary. This recipe sort of combines them all (except the sage, I just realised...but you could probably throw some in). Anyway, my Italian friends were very pleased with the outcome. Btw, I've never heard of putting sausage in porchetta.

                  Here's how I do it:
                  Butterfly a pork loin roast (about 2kg) -so it opens like a book and rub the inside with a mixture/puree of 3 garlic cloves, 6 rosemary sprigs (stems removed), 3 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, 1 Tablespoon of coarse grain sea salt, black pepper, & olive oil. Roll up the pork loin & secure with butcher's twine. Bake fat side up at 375 degree F until juices run clear (for my oven & the size of the pork loin...it took about an hour). It's really good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: msmarabini

                    Do you have any pics or links to the info you have gleaned. I would love to read up on these combinations. Sound delightful.

                  2. Update!

                    So the lunch was yesterday. Despite the stupid stupid rain which prevented our hostess from fully realizing her dream of the long tables in the garden, we still had a fantastic meal overlooking the garden from the house. There was a procession of food from antipasto to gelato with many fantastic dishes (and a few so-so ones). My own contribution was 6 loaves of bread (using the 5-minute Artisan recipe) which was a huge hit, and a 7-lb. pork loin in the porchetta style. I wasn't able to find a large pork shoulder so I bought a loin. Slit it lengthwise and opened it up like a book, then filled it with a mixture of chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, black pepper, a bit of olive oil salt and maybe other things I can't remember. Rolled it back up tightly and tied it up. This was refrigerated for 2 days before cooking. On the morning of the event, I preheated the oven to 500o F, put the roast into the oven and immediately turned it down to 350o F. I roasted it for no more than 1-1/4 hr. and it was already beyond 150o. I should have taken it out 15 minutes sooner, but it was still good. I couldn't believe how quickly it cooked. By the time lunch was served, the pork was room temperature but I sliced it crosswise and poured the pan drippings - warmed in the microwave - over the slices. It was very delicious but, to my taste, just a tad overdone. Next time I will cook it less but in all other ways it was a fantastic dish for entertaining. Ridiculously easy to make and to serve. And pork being so cheap these days, great if you're on a budget.

                    Thanks to everyone who made suggestions. I think I ended up with a combination of ingredients and method from all of you.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Nyleve

                      Sounds delicious, thanks for the report back. I really am going to make this one of these days, every time someone reports on it I get re-inspired.

                      1. re: GretchenS

                        deb prepared the zuni mock porchetta last week. moist and flavorful. leftovers were just as good.

                        ah, mock porchetta: the gift that keeps on giving.

                      2. re: Nyleve

                        What about skin? Isnt a porchetta all about getting some of the skin with the drippings and the meat?