August 13, 2009

Pigging Out - again!

Mannetti family has been butchers in the Central Market since 1865

Kate and I are celebrating the pig again- We were thrilled to be included in the Best of the Web on Saveurs site.

There is a pig recipe for all seasons and summer calls for the grill! Nothing could be easier- we don't marinade the meat, a simple grill served with a sprinkle of salt, we usually do some sausages, ribs and a couple of slices of fresh pancetta,pork belly.
Porchetta Drawing by Angie Brooksby

But one of my favorites to eat anytime of the year is Porchetta! That is really going whole hog as traditionally it uses the whole hog, head and all, the area around Rome is really famous for the whole hog porchetta. All over roadside stands pop up and at the weekly food markets where you can buy slices to take home to eat or have them make you a sandwich- which is a whole meal.

Dario Cecchini's Arista in Porchetta- a headless version

Often we make a smaller version for home, which would really be an Arista, roast pork- filled with herbs as for the porchetta. A generous amount of aromatic rosemary, the herbal kind, not the landscaping one which is rich in a camphor like resin. Chopped garlic, salt, pepper and fennel are the other seasonings which create the secret blend. Each butcher and housewife have their own version. Here is the base recipe which I add to and change with my moods.

Whole Pork roast- with ribs for more flavor while roasting- boned and rolled back on

Here is my Erbe Toscane recipe to start experimenting for your own version of porchetta.

Both Kate and I are working with chefs coming to learn the secrets of pork and butchering from the source. I am so happy to see the return of artisan butchers in American and even the "meat-cutters" are now being trained to know which recipes to suggest for the different cuts of meat.

We all want to look good when we cook, and often the wrong but of meat can ruin a dish!

So if you are not sure, go to the Master and ask for advice. My mother-in-law always told me-
"Spend more time shopping and less time cooking."

The secret is, the fresher the ingredients and the higher the quality, it needs no fancy cooking to make it taste good- it is good left natural!

Enjoy time in the kitchen and your time at the table- and spend time bonding with the people that make your food, from the farmers at the weekly market to the butchers at the grocery store.
Your family will thank you!

As Fergus Henderson said at our presentation in Seattle- "Hug your Butcher"-


  1. Love your at-home take on porchetta. Also love the advice to spend more time shopping and less time cooking - never heard it and it makes all the sense in the world.

  2. Great blog - you might be interested in a couple of blogs that I did on pigs and pork - based on my work here in Burundi % also in Egypt:

    I do follow your blog, which I find very good.

  3. I LOVE porchetta and wish I could just got down the street to one of those trucks and get a panino!

  4. what an interesting blog with much wise advice!

    thanks for sharing!

  5. Have you been to ARICCIA yet, porchetta capital of the world?

    From the main square, take side road downhill, and choose a valley-view table at any of the fraschette.

    Servings come sliced thick and wrapped in salumeria paper, a basket of home-style bread and a bottle of unlabeled wine. Bliss.


    Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino

  6. POVERINA!!! I will never eat another porchetta.

    I see now that it's very bad idea for me to see anything that resembles the live version before I eat it :)

    Back to eggplant...chow bella!

  7. Anonymous5:29 AM

    I don't see the recipe. Help!

  8. thanks- i corrected the link for the herbe toscane!

  9. Spend more time shopping and less time cooking is a great truth!!