Signatures: Porchetta alla Romana
When I first tasted the Porchetta alla Romana at Flour, it stopped me in my tracks. I’ve been a fan of this rustic pork dish since I was a pup, but the version chefs Paul Minnillo and Matt Mytro deliver at Minnillo’s Moreland Hills, OH, restaurant is a stunner. While on an exploratory trip to Chicago last year, both chefs were impressed with the porchetta they ate at the Purple Pig. Not long after, during an excursion to New York City, they were blown away by the porchetta at Il Bucco Alimentari. It became clear then they had to have porchetta on their menu at Flour.
What makes Flour’s porchetta so moist, says Mytro, is that pork belly is wrapped around the pork loin. All the fat from the belly melts into the loin, while the belly skin gets crispy. Interestingly enough, the porchetta alla Romana did not sell well until they added the description: “pork loin wrapped in pork belly.” Now it’s a top-selling entrée, Mytro says proudly. The porchetta is also a hit at lunch, where it’s sliced and served on what is billed as “a bacon and egg sandwich.”
Porchetta alla Romana
From Paul Minnillo & Matt Mytro, Flour, Moreland Hills, OH. Yield: 26 servings (8 oz. each)
1 9-10 lb. pork loin,
1 14-16 lb. pork belly, skin on
3 Tbsp. crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp. toasted fennel seeds
12 sprigs sage, chopped
1 slurry cup Activa GS
2 cups salt
3 gallons brine
aged balsamic vinegar
sliced grilled peaches
Place the pork loin in brine and marinate for 24 hours. Remove and rinse under cold water. Pat dry with towel. Lay pork belly flat on table with skin-side up. Score skin with knife at half-inch intervals. Heavily season both sides of pork belly with salt to draw out moisture. Place pork belly skin-side up on cooling rack over sheet tray and cure in refrigerator for 24 hours.
Grind red pepper and fennel seeds together. Brush flesh side of belly and loin with Activa slurry.
Season flesh part of pork belly with spice mixture and sage. Place pork belly skin side down, then position pork loin in the middle of the pork belly. Roll belly with loin to form a cigar shape. Tie with butcher twine.
Place porchetta, unwrapped, on cooling rack and store in walk-in for 24 hours. Preheat oven to 450° (high fan). Cook for 30 minutes, then lower heat to 250° and cook 1 more hour or until it reaches 135°. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing.
Garnish with grilled peaches, chicory and a drizzle of balsamic.