When I was a signorina (young lady), I spent most of my summers at a volcanic lake in the South of Rome called Lake Albano. This picturesque lake is located in the Castelli Romani area. It is a shame that not many tourists visit this area as it is immensely beautiful and very romantic. The Pope even has a summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, which overlooks the lake.

The Castelli Romani area is well known by the locals for its great food. Here you will find a variety of artisan wines, cheeses, cured meats, locally foraged mushrooms, wild strawberries, chestnuts, typical sweets and so much more.

Every time we went to the lake, we would eat panini (sandwiches) made with Porchetta. Porchetta is a typical cold roast pork dish from Ariccia, a little town located in this area. Porchetta is gaining popularity in Australia, however, the stuff you buy at the deli does not do this dish justice. It is not a hard dish to do and is made with only a few simple ingredients.

We cook ours in the wood fire oven, which imparts a lovely smokey flavour to the meat, however you can do this in a conventional oven. Traditionally, Porchetta is a dish that is served cold. If you eat it hot, it is just a roast dish, albeit a very nice one.

In Italy they make porchetta from a whole deboned pig, however you can choose a rolled pork loin with the belly and skin attached to make this.

Ingredients:

    • Rolled pork loin, with belly attached, about 1-2kg
    • Salt, to taste
    • Pepper, to taste
    • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
    • Fresh Rosemary sprigs, about 3
    • Olive oil, to drizzle
Method:

        1. Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees Celcius
        2. Un-roll pork and cut a slit through the meaty loin section. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel.
        3. Add a generous amount of all of the herbs and spices to the entire surface of the pork and drizzle a little oil. Roll the pork up and secure tightly with quality kitchen twine.
        4. Add a good amount of salt and pepper to the skin and drizzle with a little oil.
        5. Cook in the oven for about one hour per kg of meat, until well cooked in the middle.
        6. Allow to cool completely and then put it in the refrigerator overnight.
        7. Slice and serve cold.