La Bella Porchetta: the Tuscan Sun Party Continues…

As if we didn’t have enough food with 65 pizzas, endless bottles of wine, and a cake to feed 50 or more, Frances ordered up a whole porchetta from a friend who has a porchetta truck at the Saturday market in Cortona and also in the Porta Colonia parking lot every Wednesday p.m. .

The kids were a little scared of the head, but the beast proved to be the beauty of the party. The skin was divine, crisp and salty. My friend Robert made little skin sandwiches for me while Ivan and I rolled out pizzas.

Frances contemplating the whole porchetta

porchetta buns, styled by Ivan with sprigs of lavender

La bella porchetta!

I’ve never attempted to make my own porchetta but I’ve had delicious versions of it, rolled and stuffed with fennel seeds, garlic, lots of herbs and crisped til a golden crunch. Do you have a favorite recipe for porchetta or a secret place where you indulge?

11 comments... read them below or add one


  1. July 27, 2010 7:55 am by Seung Hee Reply

    Koreans eat something very similar to porchetta! Although, Koreans will make ssam with red lettuce leaves and variety of sauces (gochujang, soybean paste and etc), although my favorite sauce is the salted shrimp version. Did you know that salted shrimp has enzyme that helps digest/ break down fat (lots of pork)?

  2. July 27, 2010 8:27 am by Brian G Reply

    Love porchetta! Love it!

  3. July 27, 2010 2:53 pm by Georgette Reply

    Amazing! I wish I was there. Looks delicious. I have not had the opportunity of experiencing porchetta as of yet. I look forward to this experience in the near future.

  4. July 27, 2010 8:22 pm by Rose Reply

    My mouth is watering….I wish I knew where in the Midwest I could find porchetta. Italy is, once again, calling my name. Great pictures, Kim!

  5. July 28, 2010 9:26 am by Pierino Reply

    My first experience of porchetta was in the weekly markets in Umbria. When I tasted my first slice it was heaven. Could I just say I love pig. To replicate this at home I use a fresh picnic shoulder, like so:

    A fist full of kosher salt
    1 TBS white pepper
    3-4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 shallots minced
    1 bunch chives finely chopped
    2 TBS fennel pollen, or alternatively fennel seed ground in a spice grinder.
    Several branches of fresh rosemary (tear the leaves off, and if possible pick the flowers if any). Finely chop the leaves and reserve the flowers whole.
    1 cup good olive oil and a little more for rubbing.
    Mix the herbs with all but about 1 tbs of olive oil
    1 ½ cups white wine for basting.

    Fresh pork picnic shoulder , bone in, about 5 pounds (you will bone it out or your butcher will do it for you). If you are reasonably deft with a boning knife it’s not difficult.


    Once you have boned out the ham* spread it open and slash the skin in a diamond shape pattern. Turn it over and slash some pockets into the meat, being careful not to cut all the way through to the skin and fat layer. Rub about ¾ of the herb and olive oil mixture into the flesh. If you have the edible flowers add them now before tieing. Meanwhile preheat oven to 450.

    Reform the ham and then tie it up like a salami or a fetish model, preferably using one long piece of cooking twine.

    Rub the tied up ham with olive oil and more coarse salt and then more of the herb/oil mix.

    Place in a roasting pan and after 20 minutes in the hot oven baste with white wine and turn heat down to about 350. Baste every 20 minutes with more wine and pan juices until the internal temp reaches 145. Allow to rest, covered for at least 10 minutes before slicing very thinly. Sandwich this up with crusty bread rolls—no other condiments are required, but I like to serve salsa verde—the Italian version.

    *If you have the butcher bone out your ham please do ask to keep the ham bone. Use it for a stock for beans or soup or whatever.

  6. July 29, 2010 7:02 am by Sally Reply

    A porchetta truck!?!?! What a fabulous idea!!!! One can order and drive away with something so wonderful? I’m moving!

  7. July 29, 2010 7:31 am by Donna Reply

    Oh, my God that looks delicious! It makes me think of the pig roasts that are common in the South Carolina Lowcountry (minus the herbs and the olive oil). The pig is split down the middle, and mopped with a vinegar/salt/pepper mixture and slow roasted in a pit in the ground for 8 to 10 hours. So very yummy. But I’m with Sally–the porchetta truck is an idea we need to import! Or maybe we should just move.

  8. July 30, 2010 9:19 am by Suzy Reply

    The porchetta looks as good as a couch de lait!!!

  9. July 31, 2010 2:34 am by Jann Reply

    Looks like you’re having so much fun! Let me know if you make it down to Sicily!

  10. October 2, 2010 4:06 pm by Sarah M Shaker Reply

    You should try Porchetta on East 7th Street in NYC!!

    • October 19, 2010 5:02 pm by kim Reply

      Thank you for the rec! Will definitely try it.

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