The holidays have came to a crashing end and I’m still dreaming of dishes we made, like this roast pork loin (arrosto di maiale). It was planned that we would make this on New Year’s Day by my mother-in-law.
It was lots of fun discussing with my mother-in-law Teresa how to make the roast. Teresa was explaining it had to be seared first to get some color and we could do it on top of the stove. I was looking for something a little more less fuss. After a late night the night before, I was looking forward to letting the roast do most of the work on its own while we relaxed. I figured that seasoning our roast and setting it in the oven would be easy and perfect for our big family meal. She finally was convinced that there was no need to sear it on top of the stove and told me I should put the oven on 500 F. I translated that into celsius for her to let her know that would be way too hot to start it off at. She wasn’t convinced that 25-35 minutes would be enough to give it the nice color she gets when she cooks her roast, but I had to prove to her that roasting it at the very high temperature would be a little too long.Not easy to convince her, but I did it. I wanted to add the wine a little earlier and baste it a little, but she explained you have to wait until you lower the temperature and then add the wine. My mom was on the phone with me explaining to tell her the pork would get too dry and we better start to add some wine and baste it. Teresa wasn’t impressed with how my mom made some pork ribs the other evening, so she had no desire to take some tips from her. Lots of cooks competing to make the roast the right way, and I think there are different methods that will all lead to an easy and warmly satisfying family meal.
I always heard that searing seals in the juices of the pork and makes it more juicy. In Cook’s Illustrated, The Science of Good Cooking: Master 50 Simple Concepts to Enjoy a Lifetime of Success in the Kitchen by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen and Guy Crosby (America’s Test Kitchen), they explain during testing they found that the searing does develop flavor but does not seal in juices. They explain, “Searing meat adds flavorful crust, but it has nothing to do with the juiciness.”
There are different cuts to use for making a roast, but we used the sirloin roast that is cut from the back of the loin area. The boneless pork is very lean and has a more subtle flavor, but is very tasty from the outer layer of fat. When choosing your roast, try to find one with a nice amount of fat on the outer layerThe following recipe uses boneless sirloin pork roast. You may even be able to find a butcher that leaves the skin on the roast. If you do find a roast with the skin, leave it on as it will turn into lovely crisp cracklings as it’s roasting! The roast we found was already tied with string which keeps the roast all together while cooking. You can easily tie yours with kitchen string every couple of inches (in case yours comes untied). The pork roasted uncovered the entire time.As for the herbs, how lucky as I to have dried herbs that Teresa brought for us from Italy from their garden. I normally wouldn’t use dry herbs, but the flavor of your own freshly dried herbs surpasses any store bought version. When you make the sauce, be sure to check the flavor and add more salt as needed. I used about 4 teaspoons of salt for the roast. Typically you should use about 1 teaspoon per pound of meat. As I mentioned, we made creamy mashed potatoes with our roast. We also had spinach and a bean salad my mom made to bring in more good luck for the new year.
ROAST PORK LOIN-ARROSTO DI MAIALE
- One 6-pound boneless pork loin roast with a generously thick layer of fat and, if possible, with the skin still attached, tied with string
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground pepper to your taste
- sea salt I used about 4 teaspoons...use more or less to your taste
- 4 sprigs rosemary picked and finely chopped
- 4 sprigs sage finely chopped
- 3 carrots peeled and cut into large chunks
- 3 celery stalks cut into large chunks
- 1 large onion peeled and cut into large pieces
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/4-1/2 cup of vegetable broth or chicken
- 1/2 stick 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
- Drain the pork and pat dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl (or using a mortar and pestle), crush together the olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and sage into a paste. Rub the pork loin with the paste and place in a foil lined roasting pan or a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 450 F.
- Allow the pork loin to sit out at room temperature while you are preheating the oven.
- Add the carrots, celery and onion pieces around the pork in the roasting pan.
- Roast pork and vegetables uncovered for 35-45 minutes (until the pork begins to brown), then add the white wine.
- Reduce the heat to 350 F and continue cooking uncovered until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin reads 145 F., about 40 to 50 minutes more. Your meat thermometer should read 145°F (63°C). You may need to adjust the cooking time, depending on the weight of the pork roast. (It takes about 22 minutes per pound for medium done. For pork more well-done, cook it for 27 minutes per pound.)
- Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Don't cover the roast while it's resting. While the pork is resting, prepare the sauce.
- Puree the vegetables and the juices that were in the roasting pan with an immersion blender (or in your blender) with the broth. If you don't have any broth on hand, you could even add a little water. Heat the sauce on medium-low before serving with the butter. Stir together and let it simmer a few minutes until nicely combined. Check the salt, and add more if necessary to the sauce. Thinly slice the pork and serve it with the sauce and mashed potatoes (or even polenta).