I’m not long back from a wonderful holiday with friends in Umbria, Italy. The bonus of staying in a villa is generally they will have an outdoor wood-burning oven and you just have to take the opportunity to use this to make a really tasty dinner and what better thing to cook than a Porchetta?!

This recipe is simple and tasty, prep ahead and the longer you leave it the tastier it will be!

Italian Porchetta ( Serves 8 – with leftovers!)


For the Pork:

3kg boned belly pork attached to the loin, butterflied, rind scored
2 onions

For the Paste:

3 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
A sprig of thyme, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried thyme
1 head garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 Lemon, zest only
50ml/2fl oz wine

For the Stuffing:

Half loaf of crusty bread grated or blitz in a blender to make breadcrumbs
3 cloves of Garlic
2 eggs
Sprig of Rosemary
1 tsp dried Thyme

For the Bramley Apple Sauce:

2 large Bramley Apples,  peeled and roughly chopped
½ tsp ground Cinnamon
¼ tsp ground Allspice
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tbsp light soft Brown Sugar
15g/½oz Butter


1. Firstly make the paste, place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz until a paste is formed.

2. Next make the stuffing, take all the dry ingredients and mix together, then add the eggs to form another paste like mixture.

3. Take your large chunk of meat and open out flat. Spread the paste onto the meat and massage well in.

4. Then take your stuffing and spread across the meat too.

5. Make sure you have butchers twine handy, take the meat and roll up and tie together with the twine.

6. Place on a tray and cover, let it rest in the fridge for as along as possible – up to two days to let the flavours develop.

7. When ready to cook, take out of the fridge and leave for about an hour to come to room temperature. Place on a tray with a layer of onions underneath and season with salt.

8. If using a wood-burning stove you will need to ensure you have the fire started approx 2 hours before you plan to cook it. Ensure your oven is at about 500 degrees Celsius before placing your tray of Porchetta close to the embers. Turn every 15 mins until the core temperature reaches approx 154C. (Approx 1.5 hrs)


9. If using a conventional oven pre heat to 150C/130C Fan/Gas 2. Cover with foil and place in the oven, cooking for approx 4 hours or until core temperature is approx 154C. Then turn up the oven to its highest heat for another 30 mins with the foil removed to allow the skin to crispen up.

10. While the pork is cooking make the Bramley Apple Sauce – place all ingredients in a pot and and simmering until the apples are softened (approx 10 mins)

11. Remove the Porchetta from the oven and let it rest for 20-30 mins before carving into thin slices.

This is delicious hot or cold, we used the left overs for toppings on our home-made pizzas the following evening – well what was left after we picked at the cold leftovers!!