3poundquality boneless pork roast or pork belly (pork bellies are usually at least 5 pounds, in which case double the seasoning quantities) , pork loin will be leaner but drier; pork shoulder (also known as pork butt or Boston butt) will be fattier but moister and more flavorful; pork belly will be the most moist of all with the added flavor of the fat
4clovesgarlic, finely minced
1 1/2tablespoonsfinely chopped fresh rosemary
1tablespoonfinely chopped fresh sage
1teaspoonfinely grated lemon zest
1tablespoonfennel seeds(roasted in a dry skillet until fragrant, then cooled and crushed)
2teaspoonsblack peppercorns(roasted in a dry skillet until fragrant, then cooled and crushed)
1teaspooncrushed red pepper flakes(optional, for some heat)
*See step-by-step pictures in blog post for visual reference.If using a pork belly: Lay it skin side down and rub the top side down with the seasonings. Then roll up the belly and tie it with twine to secure it. If using a roast: Lay the roast down and make several cuts into it lengthwise leaving the meat attached at the one side. Each slice should be roughly 1/2 inch or so thick. (Think of the pork roast looking like a book with "pages" of sliced meat that are attached at the binding.) Rub down the exterior of the roast with the salt as well as inside each layer.Note: With a well-marbled roast you won't be able to get precise slices and that's okay, just do your best and rub the spices/herbs in the crevices.
Fold open the first slice/layer and generously sprinkle with the fennel, pepper, herbs, lemon zest and garlic. Continue to fold over the slices and sprinkle the spices/herbs between each slice. Rub down the exterior of the roast with some of the crushed fennel and pepper.Use kitchen twine to tie the roast.At this point you can cover and chill the roast until you're ready to cook it. It's a great make-ahead dish and can be prepared a day ahead.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Place a tablespoon or two of oil in a large heavy skillet (I prefer cast iron for this) and heat the skillet on the stove. When it's good and hot place the roast in the skillet. It should sizzle and sputter.Use hot pads to carefully lift the hot skillet and place it on the middle rack of the oven. Roast for 1 hour and then, moving quickly to avoid too much heat escaping, turn the roast over and continue to cook for another hour. If the roast seems dry and the pan juices have evaporated add 1/4cup or so of broth or water to the bottom of the skillet.Turn the roast over a final time and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature registers 185 degrees F.The roast should be beautifully browned and caramelized.Remove the porchetta from the skillet, place on a platter and tent with foil for a few minutes.Note: If you like you can make a delicious pan sauce from the drippings in the skillet. Place the skillet on the stovetop over medium high heat, pour in a little white wine and whisk to scrape the bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add a little broth or water and simmer for a few minutes.
Enjoy the porchetta sliced and served with the pan sauce spooned over it along with mashed potatoes or polenta and vegetables.Or slice the porchetta and serve it on crispy Italian bread for sandwiches. This makes great leftovers!To reheat leftovers: Place the sliced porchetta in a covered microwave-safe dish to retain the moisture and microwave until heated through.