Fall seems like a great time for roasted meats as you've probably put the BBQ grill and thoughts of Fiorentina steaks away for the season?
So why not a pork roast - porchetta style? The photo above was copied from a NYT recipe, which you can find here, but Heather's is a bit more simple and easy. So easy that bike mechanics like Larry can make it. He did just that a few weeks ago.
This is a specialty of central Italy - think southern Tuscany, Lazio, Umbria and Le Marche. The spices used vary with the region so feel free to experiment a little.
Larry couldn't find one pork roast large enough so he bought two. Since you string 'em up as shown, it's not that critical to have one big piece of meat anyway.
Per pound of meat:
1 garlic clove
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh parsley
4 sage leaves
handful of fennel fronds (in LeMarche they often use the bulb as well)
1/4 t coarse salt
1/8 t fresh ground pepper
1 t extra virgin olive oil
Combine all the ingredients and chop coarsely to make a paste. You can slice your roast into a slab that can be rolled up with the paste mixture inside or stab some cuts in the roast and stuff them full of the paste mixture. Put what's left on top, then roll and tie if needed. A roast with the skin on is great, but might be tough to find at your butcher.
350 F in the oven until your meat thermometer shows 140 F inside. Larry likes to throw some bite-sized chunks of raw potato (soaked for a few hours in salt water beforehand then drizzled with olive oil) and fresh rosemary into the roasting pan during the last hour of cooking.
Let the roast rest outside the oven for at least 15 minutes before serving or put the whole thing in the 'fridge and enjoy sandwiches (panini) the next day. Just drop some slices into a fresh, crispy bread roll and sprinkle with plenty of salt - MMMmmmmm!
Enjoy with a Sangiovese-based wine if you enjoy this hot, or a cold birra with your panino.