November 7


When I was growing up in Italy, porchetta was just as popular there as barbecue or burgers are in the States. In Spoleto, where my brother has a house, porchetta trucks are as common as the Good Humor man is here, serving porchetta sandwiches or by the kilo. The meat is always perfectly cooked—tender and so flavorful—and, it turns out, it’s so easy to make for a home cook. Most of the cooking is hands-off—all you need is a few hours, some herbs and seasonings, a warm oven, and a hearty appetite. It’s a perfect dish for the holidays.

Serves 8  


3 tablespoons fennel seeds

8 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste

5 tablespoons finely chopped

fresh rosemary

5 tablespoons finely chopped

fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1½ tablespoons freshly ground

black pepper

1½ tablespoons red pepper flakes

1 (6- to 7-pound) boneless pork shoulder, butterflied

½ cup olive oil

4 cups Chicken Stock (page 270) or store-bought

2 cups dry white wine


  1. In a small pan, toast the fennel seeds over medium-low heat until toasted and

fragrant, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle

and pound until finely ground.


  1. In a small bowl, make a cure by combining the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt,

black pepper, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds until incorporated. Rub the pork

shoulder with the cure, making sure you season both the inside and outside of the

meat. Using kitchen twine, truss the pork shoulder. Place it on a large plate and

refrigerate, uncovered, for about 24 hours.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F; position the rack in the middle of the oven.


  1. Place the pork in a large roasting pan. Rub the pork all over with the olive oil and

add the chicken stock and wine to the pan. Roast the pork for 30 to 40 minutes, or

until the skin starts to get crispy. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and

continue to roast for about 3 hours, until the pork is fork-tender. Transfer the pork

to a cutting board and let rest for about 20 minutes before carving.