Porchetta (pronounced por- ketta) is a wonderful boneless pork roast wrapped in fat and skin and generously seasoned with garlic, sage, rosemary and other aromatic herbs and spices. If you’ve ever tasted it, your mouth probably started watering as soon as you read the word at the top of this blog.
The amazing roast been hugely popular in central Italy for more than 2,000 years. Back in the day the Emperor Nero was said to enjoy it and Roman Army cooks fed it to soldiers in camp. It’s usually prepared by roasting a whole pig, although you can also roast just shoulder or loin cuts. Rather than preparing it at home, Italians today most often enjoy porchetta sold by street vendors and at festivals, where it’s often served on bread. It’s a mystery that porchetta hasn’t become a favorite in this country.
For years Americans who visited Italy returned home with stories about the legendary flavor, but weren’t able to find porchetta on the menu anywhere on this side of the Atlantic. To the delight of fans, porchetta is not only becoming available in the U.S. – it’s becoming trendy. Porchetta NYC, a restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village, has thrived for more than five years in one of the toughest restaurant towns in America.
The West Coast has also discovered porchetta. Writer Amy Scattergood chronicled porchetta’s growing popularity in a recent edition of LA Weekly Eat + Drink: “Walk into a remarkable number of L.A. restaurants these days, particularly on certain chef-designated nights, and you'll be overwhelmed by the ode to pig that is porchetta.” She says foodies have mythologized porchetta “so that it's more than the sum of its few parts: pig and salt, herbs and seasonings.”
We're chefs are recognizing the goodness of this traditional Italian favorite. While you may not yet be able to find porchetta yet in your hometown, Huffington Post writer Scott Bridges believes its popularity will grow. After listing a number of restaurants that offer the savory roast, he noted, “Don’t be surprised if you notice it popping up on more menus in the very near future.”We can only hope!