Porchetta is an iconic Italian pork roast, usually done with boneless pork loin or belly and stuffed with herbs. Our recipe uses pork belly with the skin on, scored and dried one day in advance to maximise crispiness. Apart from using the fat from the roast, make sure to use leftovers for delicious porchetta sandwiches.
Prep time 30 minutes (plus overnight drying) Cook 1 hour 40 minutes (plus resting)
- 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) piece of boneless pork belly, skin on
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 pinch of chilli ﬂakes
- 8 garlic cloves, ﬁnely chopped
- 1 small handful of sage leaves, coarsely chopped
- 2–3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve
- Wild rocket salad
- 3 large handfuls of wild rocket (arugula)
- 3 peaches, stones removed, sliced into wedges (omit if unavailable)
- 1 large handful each of ﬂat-leaf (Italian) parsley and mint
- Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- Red wine vinegar, to taste
NOTES: You’ll need to allow a day in advance to dry out the pork skin, which will help achieve crisp crackling. The fat from the roast that drips into the pan is liquid gold: use it to roast potatoes to serve alongside the porchetta or strain into a container to use for later cooking. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
1. Score the pork skin at 5 mm (¼ inch) intervals using a very sharp knife: score just down to where the skin meets the fat. Turn the pork over and lightly score the ﬂesh with a sharp knife: you only need to make shallow incisions.
2. Dry-roast the fennel seeds and chilli ﬂakes in a small frying pan over medium–high heat, shaking the pan occasionally for 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then coarsely crush. Stir in the garlic, herbs, olive oil, lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of the sea salt and mix to a paste. Rub the paste into the ﬂesh of the pork.
3. Place the pork, skin-side up, on a tray. Rub the remaining sea salt into the skin, making sure you get right into the incisions. Refrigerate overnight, skin-side up and uncovered, to dry out.
4. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Lay the pork belly, skinside down, on a clean work surface. Roll into a cylinder and tie at 2–3 cm (¾–1¼ inch) intervals with kitchen string. Set aside for 1 hour to come to room temperature.
5. Transfer the pork to a wire rack in a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30–40 minutes until the skin begins to crisp and crackling forms. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C (315°F) and open the door to let the heat out. Continue to roast the pork for 45 minutes to 1 hour until cooked to medium: the internal temperature will read 58°C (136°F), and the pork will continue to cook as it rests.
6. Cover the pork loosely with foil and set aside to rest for 30 minutes, then remove the string and thinly slice.
7. While the pork rests, toss the rocket, peach slices and herbs in a bowl. Dress with olive oil and vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the sliced pork and the lemon wedges.