Well, Meatfest 2011 continues, this time with a primo-tasty recipe from Plenty. This was the first book I cracked when I was trying to decide how to cook the one-and-only loin roast from our half-share of local pork. The minute I saw the words “garlic,” “rosemary” and “fennel,” I knew I had a winner.

The fact that this recipe was prepared in advance, only needing to be popped out of the fridge a while before popping it into the oven, also made it a winner, in my book.

My roast was slightly smaller (3.5 pounds) and was not boneless, but the recipe worked perfectly, and I’m sure it will with a boneless roast, too! I served ours with a pile of braised greens (via Full Circle) and a few more shelling peas that I was able to harvest from the garden after work.

Roast Pork Loin, Porchetta Style
Serves 6

4.5-pound boneless pork loin
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
4 rosemary sprigs, leaves chopped, plus more for the roasting pan
about 8 bay leaves
olive oil
salt and black pepper

  1. Lay the pork on a board, flesh side up. Make incisions all over with a sharp knife and fill with the slivers of garlic. Rub the fennel and rosemary all over, along with olive oil to lubricate, pushing bits down inside the slits. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Make a bed in a roasting pan with rosemary springs and the bay leaves, and lay on the pork, fat side down. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Tie the loin at intervals with kitchen string (not too tightly; it should hold its shape, but not look like a sausage). Put into the roasting pan, fat side up, on top of the herbs (make sure these are under the pork, or they will scorch) and cook for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for 1 hour 40 minutes, basting every so often.
  4. Check to make sure it is properly cooked; the juices should run clear with no trace of pink. If you have a meat thermometer, cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F). Take out of oven, cover with foil to insulate, and allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.