BIG TONI’S ITALIAN KITCHEN

Tuscan roast pork belly                       Feb 2018

Whenever we are in Frascati I find it difficult, no, impossible to walk past the porchetta man. In the UK we have Hog roast but in Italy it’s porchetta. A whole deboned pig roasted on a spit stuffed with garlic and herbs, liberally salted and served in fresh round rolls, all from a van on the roadside.

If you love Hog roast, you will think you have died and gone to street food paradise when you try porchetta.

When I cook Tuscan Pork Belly the combination of herbs and tender pork always reminds me of Frascati and the delicious role stuffed with tender meat and crispy crackling. It’s making my mouth water writing this.

I will be putting the recipe for my Tuscan Belly Pork 

Tuscan roast pork belly. 

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The fist thing you need to make this dish is time. 

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For six people you will need:

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  • 2.5kg piece boneless pork belly (skin on)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary leaves 
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves 
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 bulb of garlic 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 3 sticks of celery chopped
  • 500ml dry Italian white wine
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 500ml good chicken stock
  • 80ml dry Masala 

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How to make:

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Score the pork skin and fat, without cutting into the meat. Place pork on a rack in the sink and pour over a kettle of boiling water (this will help get crisp crackling). 

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Dry well. Crush rosemary, fennel, zest and garlic in a pestle and mortar or hand blender to a coarse paste. Stir in oil, and then rub paste all over the pork. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or even better overnight. 

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Preheat the oven to its highest temperature. 

Throw the carrots and celery into a roasting tray. Break the garlic bulb up into unpeeled cloves, peel and chop the onions put into tray with the thyme sprigs. 

Rest the pork belly on top of the vegetables in the tray, then roast for 15 minutes, until the skin starts to turn golden brown. 

Turn down the oven temperature to 180°C 1 hour 30 minutes. Then carefully pour three-quarters of the wine and Masala into the tray. Cook for 1 further hour. 

Remove the meat carefully from the oven and test to see if it pulls apart easily. If not, cook for a little longer. Allow the meat to rest before you serve.

You can make a fantastic sauce or gravy from the tray of roasted vegetables put the tray directly onto your hob, add a tablespoon of  flour, then stir together until thick. Cook for 1 minute then add in the remaining wine – if you sauce is too thick add a splash more wine or water, strain and serve with the meat.

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I like to serve my Tuscan Pork on a bed of roasted veg or some home made spicy baked beans. Creamy mash is always good.

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