November 8, 2017




There is palpable tension in the air. As Shane munches away on his box of Ritz, two Lazio fans are becoming irate just a couple of rows behind us in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Torino are leading by three goals to two and, from what I can tell, one fan isn’t happy that the other isn’t using strong enough insults towards the club president. The stadium is almost empty – a fan protest due to recent results and those who are there are no longer watching the game but are instead facing the president and hurling insults at him. The two lads behind us grab each other, it seems a fight is inevitable but just as fists clench there is a loud roar, Antonio Candreva has levelled the game for Lazio. The two men embrace. Hugging each other, smiling and laughing, it’s hard to believe that just seconds earlier one of them was preparing to sink his fist into the others jaw. The joys of football.

It’s not long before the final whistle goes and although a few “boos” ring out around the ground, the fans seem to be in relatively good spirits. We start to walk into the city but after an afternoon of high tension – I’m starving! Not far from the stadium is a small bar serving beer and porchetta sandwiches so we head in and order. It’s bustling. Fans are discussing the match with raised voices and emotional gestures. I feel more at ease after a few sips of Peroni and then dig into the sandwich. It’s incredible. The sweet pork is stuffed with herbs and, still warm, the bread soaks up all of the juices. Crackling adds a nice crunch and I’m as happy as can be.

Traditionally Porchetta is made by boning and stuffing an entire pig but that just isn’t practical in the home kitchen. Pork belly gives the right amount of fat, flesh and skin while cooking it for hours produces wonderfully tender, sweet pork with crunchy crackling. Slice it a couple of centimetres thick and serve as a roast or put it on some sourdough bread and enjoy as the Romans do.


Serves 6 as dinner or 12 sandwiches

1.5 KG piece of boneless Free Range Pork Belly
1 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 sprigs of Rosemary
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Butcher’s String

For the Stuffing:

1 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 clove of Garlic (finely chopped)
150g Pork Liver (finely chopped)
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 glass of Red Wine
Handful of Flaked Almonds
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper


1. First make the stuffing. Add the oil to a pan over a medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Season lightly and cook for 7-10 minutes until softened. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the liver and oregano and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes before adding the wine. Cook off the alcohol for 2-3 minutes and remove from the heat. Stir in the flaked almonds and allow to cool completely.

2. Lay the belly out, skin side down, and season well. Spread the stuffing evenly all over the meat and carefully roll the belly so that the stuffing is on the inside with the skin on the outside. Tie up every few centimeters to hold the joint together. Cover and put into the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) to marinade.

3. Make sure the outside of the Porchetta is completely dry before putting it onto a baking dish with the seem on the the bottom. Pour over the oil and scatter the rosemary on top. Season and put into a pre-heated 200 degree oven. Cook for 20 minutes before turning the temperature down to 160 degrees. Cook for a further two and a half hours, turning back up to 200 for the final 10-15 minutes.

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