This pork belly porchetta recipe makes a mouthwatering mini porchetta, a small slow-cooked Italian style roast pork stuffed with rosemary, thyme, fennel and sage. Once reserved for celebrations, when a whole pig was deboned, layered, rolled-up and roasted, with enough to feed a village, our petite sized pork belly roast is perfect for Sunday dinner and feeds feeds six or two or four with leftovers.

My mini pork belly porchetta may not be the prettiest pork roast I’ve made – it’s certainly not as handsome as the crunchy-skinned spice-rubbed roast pork belly stuffed with garlic, fresh herbs and spices that I shared last month for Easter Sunday. My ugly-delicious pork belly porchetta is nevertheless incredibly delicious.

If you enjoyed the spiced pork belly roast, then you’re going to love this Italian-style pork belly porchetta recipe. It’s a similar method but instead of spice-rubbed, this rolled pork belly roast is filled with fresh and dried European herbs such as rosemary, thyme, fennel and sage.

This pork belly porchetta recipe makes a pork roast that is just as succulent, with the same juiciness, unctuous, melt-in-the-mouth texture of pork belly that we all love. It’s just as rich as the other pork belly recipe, so you wouldn’t make it every Sunday, but it’s a nice treat for a special meal and you could eat the leftovers with salad to lighten it up the rest of the week.

Back in the day – way back in Ancient Rome! – porchetta was a sacrificial offering. In more recent centuries in Italy, porchetta has been reserved for celebrations, with a whole pig being deboned, layered, rolled up, and roasted, making enough to feed a village. These days it can also refer to a large, long, rolled pork roast.

This mini porchetta makes a petite-sized pork belly roast. It should feed six with sides – I love roasting potato, sweet potatoes and carrots in the pork juices – or two or four with plenty of leftovers for sandwiches or perhaps Italian-inspired pork rolls, stuffed with fresh herbs.

Now before I tell you more about this pork belly porchetta recipe for a mouthwatering mini porcetta, I have a favour to ask. Grantourismo is reader-funded. If you’ve used and like our recipes, including our Thai recipes and Cambodian recipes, please consider supporting Grantourismo by supporting our original, epic, first-of-its-kind Cambodian culinary history and cookbook on Patreon for as little as US$5 a month. Or, you could also buy us a coffee. Although we’ll use our coffee money to buy cooking ingredients for recipe testing instead.

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Now let me tell you a bit more about this pork belly porchetta recipe for a slow-cooked Italian style roast pork stuffed with rosemary, thyme, fennel and sage.

Pork Belly Porchetta Recipe for an Italian Roast Pork with Rosemary, Thyme, Fennel and Sage

If you’re looking for an easy set-and-forget pork roast for Sunday dinner, then try this pork belly porchetta recipe for a mouthwatering mini porchetta. It only requires a little monitoring. But of course, if you’re feeding more than two or four or six, order double the size.

Or, keep the porchetta small and kick off the meal with plenty of crusty bread and bowls of a hearty Italian soup, such as this classic Tuscan ribollita (a fantastic way to use stale bread) or Italian wedding soup, or a lighter spring soup such as a green minestrone, and a big panzanella salad, and serve your roast with lots of veggies and a big bowl of creamy mashed potatoes to share.

If you decide to try this on the weekend, drop into your favourite butcher shop today and order your pork belly roast for pick-up on Friday if you’re planning on making this mini pork belly porchetta on Saturday or Sunday as you’ll want to marinate it 24 hours in advance (ideally) or the evening before, or the morning of the meal at the very latest. 

You’ll need to order a skin-on all-belly rolled pork belly roast – or simply a ‘pork belly roll’ as it’s called here – however, if you’re not a pork belly lover and don’t love all that unctuous fat, then ask the butcher to wrap the belly around a trimmed pork loin. If you have a friendly butcher, you could even take in your herb mix and ask him to stuff your pork belly roast.

On Friday or Saturday evening, you can open a bottle of wine, put on some music, unroll your pork belly, rub it with olive oil, stuff it with herbs, roll it back up, tie it up, salt the skin, rub in more herbs, pop it in the fridge overnight, and… put on an easy soup or make a pasta for dinner.

If you don’t see this until the weekend, a good local butcher or even the butcher’s section at a good supermarket should be able to roll up and tie up some pork belly for you. If you don’t have time to leave it in the fridge overnight, try to keep it in the fridge for a full day.

You can then pull it out late afternoon, slide it into the oven, crisp up the skin, then slow cook it for a few hours. It will fill your home with the most mouth-watering aromas, so make sure you have some snacks on hand. Just a few tips to making this pork belly porchetta recipe for an Italian roast pork with herbs.

Pork Belly Porchetta Recipe for an Italian Roast Pork Stuffed with Herbs. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Tips to Making this Pork Belly Porchetta Recipe for an Italian Roast Pork with Herbs

If you’ve never made a pork roast before, or you have and you have a tendency to over-cook them, then this pork belly porchetta recipe is definitely for you. Pork belly is fantastic, not only because it’s so rich and succulent, but because it is next to impossible to dry out.

Having said that, do buy your pork belly from a butcher you trust who can roll up a pork belly that has a nice balance of meat and fat, so it’s not all fat.

The butcher will tie up the pork belly for you, so you will have to untie it or cut the string, so make sure you have some fresh kitchen twine to tie it back up again.

Some cooks like to score the pork belly. I prefer to prick holes in it to create little pockets to tuck the sliced garlic cloves into, then massage the extra virgin olive oil into the pork, and rub the herbs into the belly to release their flavours and aromas, before rolling it up and tying it up again, then salting and rubbing the herbs into the skin.

It’s so important to marinate and salt the pork belly the day before you roast it and to leave it overnight, at least 8-12 hours, so it’s infused with the wonderful flavours of the garlic and herbs.

Also, do feel free to adjust the garlic and herbs to your taste. Add more or less. Substitute some herbs for whatever’s fresh and available or growing in your garden.

I wrap this pork belly up in foil or cling wrap before refrigerating it. If you want extra crunchy crackling, it’s best to salt it and leave it uncovered and dry (some cooks will leave it for 1-2 days), however, I still get really nice crunch by blasting it with high heat at the start. 

Pork Belly Porchetta Recipe for an Italian Roast Pork Stuffed with Herbs. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

 

Remove the pork belly from the fridge two hours before roasting and let it sit at room temperature. Although if you live in the tropics, as we do, unless you’ve got the air-con on full, you might want to limit that to 30 minutes.

When it comes to roasting the pork, low and slow is essential to render the fats, but you’ll need high heat initially to get that nice crunchy pork crackling.

I’ve tested pork roast recipes that roast the pork on low for a couple of hours first and then turn the heat to high to create the crackling, and roast the pork on high first to create the crackling then turn to low for the long slow roast, and based on my experience the latter method produces the crunchiest skin.

I’ve also tried periodic basting of the skin in the pork juices and basting only once at the start and once near the end, and both methods produced crunchy skin. It’s that high heat for a period that’s key to getting that crackling skin and then a long slow cook to render the fat and infuse the flavours.

When the pork is done, that is, when it registers 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer poked into the centre, slide the pork out of the oven and rest it for at least 30 minutes.

You could serve the porky juices in a bowl with a spoon so guests can help themselves or, if you’re inspired, you could use the juices to make a gravy. Serve your porchetta with the baked vegetables and perhaps some creamy mashed potatoes.

Please do let us know if you make our pork belly porchetta recipe for a slow-cooked Italian style roast pork stuffed with herbs, as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.

Pork Belly Porchetta Recipe for an Italian Roast Pork with Herbs

Pork Belly Porchetta Recipe for an Italian Roast Pork Stuffed with Herbs. Copyright © 2022 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

Pork Belly Porchetta Recipe for a Slow Cooked Italian Roast Pork Stuffed with Herbs

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6
Calories: 63kcal
Author: Lara Dunston

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kilo rolled pork belly one piece
  • 4 garlic cloves smashed and quartered
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh/dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp fresh/dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh/dried sage
  • 1 tbsp ground fennel
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large purple shallots or small red onions peeled and halved

Instructions

  • If you’ve bought a rolled pork belly that’s tied up for roasting, unroll it on a cutting board and lay it flat. Use a sharp knife to prick the skin all over with small slits, and stuff the garlic pieces into those.
  • In a small bowl, mix together one teaspoon of salt, the pepper, fresh/dried herbs and chopped flat leaf parsley, massage half a tablespoon of the olive oil into the pork belly, then sprinkle on ¾ of the herbs and flat leaf parsley all over the pork belly, and rub it into the belly.
  • Tightly roll up the pork, re-tie it with kitchen twine, settle it on enough foil to wrap it completely, then rub half a tablespoon of olive oil onto the pork belly, sprinkle on another teaspoon of salt and the rest of the herbs, then wrap the pork in foil, and refrigerate overnight or for at least 8-12 hours.
  • The next day, pre-heat your oven to 220°C (430°F). Remove the pork belly from the fridge and let sit until it comes down to room temperature (30 mins-2 hours). Grease a baking tray with a tablespoon of the olive oil, lay the onion halves alongside each other in the centre of the pan, unwrap your pork belly and place it on top of the onions with the seam up, then slide the tray into the oven.
  • Roast the underside of the pork belly with the seam facing upwards for 15 minutes then turn the pork over (seam down) and roast for another 30 minutes until the skin is crispy and the herbs fragrant.
  • Turn the heat down to 150°C (300°F). If the pork skin is dark brown and herbs are burning, cover the top of the pork with a little foil so the skin doesn’t burn (otherwise, cover it later when needed) and roast for 3 hours, basting the pork with its herby juices every hour if you can.
  • If baking roast vegetables with the pork, depending on how cooked you like your veggies, add potato pieces one hour before the pork finishes, small purple shallots 30 minutes before, and baby carrots 15 minute before, coating the vegetables with the pork juices and sprinkling on a little salt.
  • When the pork is done, when it registers 165°F (74°C) on an instant-read thermometer poked into the centre, slide the pork out of the oven and rest it for at least 30 minutes. Serve the porky juices in a bowl with spoon so guests can help themselves or use any juices to make a gravy if you’re inspired. Serve with the baked vegetables and perhaps some creamy mashed potatoes.

Nutrition

Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 779mg | Potassium: 94mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 182IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 1mg

Please do let us know if you make our pork belly porchetta recipe for a slow-cooked Italian style roast pork stuffed with herbs, as we’d love to know how it turns out for you.

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