If you adore pulled pork then you will fall hopelessly in love with porchetta. Pork shoulder is rolled in a thick crust of spices and herbs and slow roasted until it falls apart. My Italian mother made it when I was growing up, but her version was very different from what I experienced in Rome. While meandering through the tiny alleyways of the Trastevere I followed the breeze of garlic and bought a crusty pork-filled roll from a street vendor. Traditionally it is prepared with a whole deboned pig stuffed with wild herbs, loads of garlic, and roasted with the crackling skin. Authenticity isn’t always practical, so let’s go with Mama’s recipe: it’s better and miles easier.
Using a sharp knife, make small incisions in the meat and insert the slivers of garlic into the holes. Rub the meat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper all over. Heat a very large frying pan over high heat and cook the meat until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan, then rub the remaining oil over the pork.
Combine the fennel seeds, oregano, rosemary, chilli flakes, sea salt and black pepper on a plate. Roll the seared meat in the herb and spice mixture and place it on a roasting rack in a roasting pan.
Slice the pork and place it on a platter with rosemary sprigs and other fresh herbs. Serve with crusty rolls and rocket for guests to assemble their own.
© 2015 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.