Italian Pork Loin Recipes
Pork (maiale) loin is a full cut of meat along the back of a pig. It can be purchased bone-in or boneless. The texture of pork loin is similar to a pork chop because, in fact, pork chops are cut from the loin. It will usually have a thin layer of fat over one side of the meat. Don't remove this fat because it helps to keep the meat moist during roasting. Pork tenderloin is always purchased boneless. It is much thinner than a pork loin, so it cooks much faster. It’s usually found in the market wrapped in plastic with 2 tenderloins packaged together. One piece weighs about 1-1/4 pounds and will make about 2 servings. Pork tenderloin is more tender than pork loin. Use a fillet knife to remove the silvery membrane that covers the thick end of the tenderloin as it is tough and chewy.
Pork Loin Stuffed with Spinach, Fontina, Parmesan Cheese, and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sorrento-Style Pork Loin Roast
(Serves 6 to 8)
Sorrento’s cuisine is strongly linked to the produce that grows in this fertile land. The climate is perfect for the cultivation of oranges and lemons. In this recipe orange juice is added to create a wonderful sauce for the pork loin.
1 (2-1/2 to 3 pound) boneless pork loin roast
Salt and pepper
4 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups orange juice (about 4 oranges)
4 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 sprigs of rosemary
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Season the pork loin with salt and pepper.
Place a piece of waxed paper on a work surface. Arrange 6 slices on pancetta on the paper; 3 rows of 2 slices, slightly overlapping. Place the pork loin on the center of the arranged pancetta. Fold the ends up and around the sides of the roast. Arrange the remaining pancetta over the top of the roast; so that it is completely wrapped. Using lengths of kitchen wine, tie the pancetta onto the roast in 2 inch intervals.
Place the pork loin in a roasting pan no smaller than 9 x 12-inches. Drizzle the meat with olive oil and rub the oil over all the surfaces of the meat. Place the pork loin in the oven for 20 minutes.
Combine the orange juice, bay leaves, garlic, and rosemary in a small bowl.
Pour the juice and seasoning over the pork loin. Return the roast to the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes. The internal temperature should be 135 -140 degrees when done. The juices in the pan will have reduced. Remove the roast from the oven and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Cut the meat into 1/4-inch slices and arrange on a platter.
Strain the juices from the baking dish and pour over the sliced meat.
Florentine Roast Pork Loin
Different regions of Italy prefer eating different parts of the pig. Tuscany is famous for its Arista di Maiale alla Florentina or loin of pork roasted with rosemary.
2-3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
6 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 pound boneless pork loin
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 cups white wine
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the rosemary and garlic.
Use a skewer to make deep holes all over the surface of the meat. Insert the rosemary-garlic mixture into the holes, pushing it deep inside the meat.
Place the pork loin in a roasting pan. Rub the surface of the meat with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Pour the wine into the roasting pan. Roast for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, basting a few times with the pan juices. The meat should be 140-145 degrees F. when done. This roast is traditionally served cold but it is also good warm with the pan juices drizzled over.
Pork Loin Stuffed with Spinach, Fontina, (Serves 8)
Parmesan Cheese, and Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 pork loin, about 4 pounds
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups shredded Fontina cheese
1/2cup grated Parmesa cheese
8 ounces sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cut the pork loin vertically into two (2 pound) pieces.
Follow the same procedure for both pieces of pork loin:
Butterfly each pork loin by slicing the length of the loin. It should unroll with an even 1/2 inch thickness - like unrolling a jellyroll. Pound the pork loin between two sheets of plastic wrap to an even thickness. Remove the plastic wrap; season the surface of the meat with salt and pepper. Arrange half of the spinach leaves in an even layer over the length of the pork. Spread the Fontina, Parmesan and sun-dried tomatoes over the pork in an even layer. Roll the pork loin up; tie around it at 1-inch intervals with kitchen twine. Sprinkle the entire outside of the roast with salt and pepper, and garlic powder. Wrap it in plastic wrap if you will be cooking it later. (You can prepare the roast up to 1 day ahead, as far as this step.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork loin and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the roast to a baking dish. Place in oven and roast for 50 to 60 minutes - until meat reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. Remove meat from pan and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 5-15 minutes. Cut the meat into 1-inch thick slices to serve.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Fennel
1 large fennel bulb
2 large sweet apples, such as Fuji, sliced
1 large red onion, sliced
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Position oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Cut off top fronds of fennel bulb. Reserve some for garnish.
Core the fennel and thinly slice.
In a large bowl, combine the fennel with apples and onion. Add 2 tablespoons oil and gently toss. Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake on the lower oven rack, stirring once, for 30-35 minutes. Mixture should be tender and golden.
About 10 minutes after putting the apple mixture in the oven, sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the pork 2-3 minutes just to sear all sides. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet and place on top oven rack. Roast 12-15 minutes until meat is barely pink in the center. Instant thermometer reading should be between 135-140 degrees F. Remove from the oven and allow to rest 5 minutes.
Transfer the apple-fennel mixture to a serving platter. Thinly slice the pork and placed on top of the apples and fennel. Garnish with a sprinkling of reserved fennel fronds.
ITALIAN MEAT RECIPES > ITALIAN PORK LOIN RECIPES
INTERNAL TEMPERATURE FOR MOIST AND TENDER PORK
The USDA rules about pork changed a few years ago. The safe internal temperature dropped from 160 degrees F. to 145 degrees F. This makes all the difference in getting juicy results from any piece or pork. It may take a little psychological adjustment to serve pork that's slightly pink; theres' still an inclination to let it cook a little longer. But any hesitation may take fast-cooking cuts past the right temperature before you know it.
Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat after the minimum time recommended by the recipe. Or you can use a non-contact infrared thermometer with a laser that is designed to accurately measure temperature from a distance.
Simply pull the trigger and aim the pistol grip thermometer at an object using the laser indicator and the unit will provide an accurate temperature measurement in less than a second.
Another type of meat thermometer is called a remote-proble. You insert the probe into the meat at the beginning of cooking and set the desired temperature of the meat. An alarm goes off when it reaches that temperature and then you can remove it from the oven or skillet.
Sometime called "Italian bacon," pancetta is salt-cured pork belly. It isn't smoked like American bacon. It is rolled into a spiral loaf, and can be sliced or diced for cooking. Look for pancetta in your market's deli section.
4 pounds new or fingerling potatoes, cut into halves
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup olive oil
In a large bowl, combine potatoes with rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Spread potatoes out in a large baking pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F. for 45 to 60 minutes,
or until golden brown.