You know what my definition of torture is? Having a secret taste for pork and being in the car with my kosher Jewish father while he drives by a porchetta stand, selling hunks of absolutely delicious, rosemary-sage-and-garlic-infused roasted pig, usually in panini. Porchetta sandwiches are to soccer matches in Italy what tailgate party hamburgers and concession hot dogs are to football games in America. Porchetta is a true religion in Italy, but it's also a symbol of liberation to me, two times over-first, when I got my own motorbike and could go straight to the stadium porchetta truck, and second, when I mastered a recipe for it. Pork butt (aka shoulder) will make for a delicious porchetta-style roast, with plenty left over for sandwiches the next day. Just make sure you get it with the fat. You want that flavor! Oven-Roasted Potatoes are a perfect accompaniment (link below).
In a food processor, combine the sage, rosemary, the 5 garlic cloves, fennel seeds, olive oil, and salt and pepper and blend until a paste forms. (You can also mash these ingredients together with a mortar and pestle.)
Using a sharp knife, butterfly the pork butt, so it opens up like a book. (You can also have your butcher do this for you.) Rub the inside cut of the meat with the paste. Using kitchen twine, tie the butterflied pork back together to make a compact shape.
Place the halved garlic heads and potatoes, cut-sides down, on the bottom of a roasting pan to create a bed for the pork butt so it doesn't sit directly on the surface of the pan. Place the pork fat-side up on the bed of garlic and potatoes, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 5 hours, or until the skin is browned and the meat is extremely tender; pour the wine over the pork after the first 30 minutes of roasting and baste the meat with the collected pan juices every 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Remove the twine before cutting the pork into 12-inch-thick slices.
IMPORTANTE! After slow-roasting the pork, the garlic should be soft. Spread it on bread for an appetizer. Serve with Oven-Roasted Potatoes. The potatoes make for a nice cook's treat-snack on them while you're waiting for the pork to rest.
Oven-Roasted Potatoes: Patate Arrosto
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
On a baking sheet, place the potatoes, carrots, garlic, rosemary, and sage. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss to coat.
Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, tossing halfway through, until the potatoes are crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and serve.
IMPORTANTE! To parboil and pan-roast these potatoes: In a pot, combine the whole potatoes with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the pot and set them aside to cool. Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch chunks and add to a large nonstick skillet with the carrots, garlic, rosemary, and sage. Dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and heat on high until the potatoes are crisp and golden, occasionally moving the potatoes by shaking the pan handle. Avoid stirring with a spoon or spatula, so that you don't break the skin, and the potatoes can achieve a nice sear.
"Extra Virgin: Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen" by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos (c)Clarkson Potter 2014. Provided courtesy of Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos by arrangement with Clarkson Potter. All rights reserved.