Roasts are synonymous with so many wonderful occasions, from holidays to family get-togethers and much more. While most of us think of beef when it comes to roasts, there’s an Italian specialty known as Porchetta that is every bit the equal of them.
Made from pork, Porchetta’s savory, fatty, herb-spiced flavor has long made it a staple of cuisine in Italy. Porchetta is salted heavily, then stuffed with a combination of fennel, garlic or rosemary prior to roasting or spitting. Once it’s done, the meat features a golden brown crust that is bursting with a rich blend of aromatic spices and tender, melt-in-your-mouth taste.
The good news is that while there are several options about what to serve with Porchetta, you really don’t need much of anything to enjoy this amazing food. For most Italians, Porchetta is a meal in itself and is often simply sliced and served on bread. If you should ever visit Italy, you’ll understand why. The meat is so over -the-top loaded with flavor, that little else is required to enjoy it.
However, even though that might be the case, you might still want to know about other options to try and that’s what we’ll be discussing below, so try to stop yourself from salivating as we cover them all!
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Cheese That Goes With Porchetta
As mentioned earlier, Porchetta is a fatty, salty meat and when considering the type of cheeses to pair with it, it’s important to keep that in mind. Ideally, the cheese you select shouldn’t compete with it, otherwise you might find yourself overwhelmed by an overabundance of fat on your palate.
Fresh mozzarella is a lower fat content cheese and while it might be considered bland by some, when combined with the richness of a Porchetta roast, it can be a perfect option. Mozzarella is legendary as a melting cheese which gives it the characteristic gooey elasticity we love so much. Mozzarella’s light and milky taste won’t compete with the spices of the meat and will add a creamy texture that complements it well.
Unlike mozzarella, provolone is definitely a cheese with its own flavor. While it’s still mild, it possesses a characteristically smoky flavor without being overpowering. Provolone is also a great melting cheese which makes it a perfect complement to Porchetta.
Fontina is a semi-soft cheese that possesses a slightly higher milk fat content of about 45%. Younger fontina will be more mild but it can sharpen with age. Despite this, fontina would still be mild enough and low enough in fat to pair well with Porchetta and even enhance the spice of the roast thanks to its nutty, savory flavor profile.
Like Fontina, Asiago is a semi-soft cheese but with stronger hints of nuts and cream. As it ages, its flavor changes again, making it similar to Parmesan. However, its overall mildness and lower fat content, makes it a perfect choice for drawing out the fatty richness of Porchetta.
Dessert That Goes With Porchetta
For desserts, we’re going to keep things traditional and focus on a few Italian options that make naturally fantastic choices. Each one of them can serve as a perfect finisher to a soul satisfying helping of Porchetta roast and will leave a smile on your face with each bite.
As probably Italy’s most well-known dessert, Tiramisu’s bold cocoa and espresso flavors and layers of creamy mascarpone cheese make it a decadent option for a dessert to pair with Porchetta.
In some respects, Panna Cotta is the opposite of Tiramisu. Standing in sharp contrast to Tiramisu’s richness, Panna Cotta is a light and fanciful option. Well known for its silky smoothness and creamy texture, Panna Cotta has a milky sweet flavor with hints of toasted vanilla and golden sugar.
What would any dessert list be without including ice cream and when it comes to Italian ice cream, Tartufo is perhaps the most famous as well as the versatile.
It can be made with one or more types of ice cream that are molded around a frozen fruit center. Popular fruit-filled middles are strawberry, raspberry and cherry. Covering it all is a semi-hard shell that’s made from chocolate, cinnamon, cookie crumbs or nuts.
What makes Tartufo a perfect dessert pair with Porchetta is the cold, refreshing but sweet combination of tastes which stands in sharp contrast to Porchetta’s fatty flavor and chewy texture.
Gravy (or Sauce) That Goes With Porchetta
Sauce and gravy can work well with Porchetta so long as it doesn’t overpower the natural flavor of the meat. When considering options for pairing, we’ve got a couple of ideas that enhance the roast’s strengths and complement every bite.
Italian Salsa Verde
If you love the Mexican version of salsa verde, Italian salsa verde should be on your list to try!
Instead of using tomatillos, Italian salsa verde, uses a fresh combination of extra virgin olive oil, lemon, garlic, parsely and anchoives (optional). If you’re not a fan of anchovies, consider trying it anyway since they are finely ground and thoroughly blended. The combination of other spices will mask much of the anchovy’s flavor without sacrificing the umami taste anchovies add to this unique creation.
When freshly made, Italian salsa verde will draw out the spiced flavor that’s locked in to the Porchetta roast as it cooks, bringing them to life on your taste buds.
This should be a no brainer! The very best gravy you can use with Porchetta comes from the roast itself. After your roast cooks, just give it a few minutes to rest and then remove the drippings and add them to a saute pan.
Heat the pan, add a little butter (a couple of tablespoons works well) and a similar amount of flour. As the mixture heats, simply whisk it together until it turns smooth and creamy.
From there, add any spices you like and you’ve got the perfect gravy to pair with your Porchetta!
Wine That Goes With Porchetta
While not everyone is a wine drinker, for those of that are, few things are more satisfying with a tasty, homemade meal like a Porchetta roast. Whether it’s red or white, we’ve got options you’ll love.
The best options for red wine with Porchetta will be lighter options like Pinot Noir, Sangiovese or Chianti. Heavier blends like Cabernet Savignon, Merlot or Shiraz have high amounts of tannins and will tend to overpower the delicate spices of the pork.
The types of white wine that work best with Porchetta will be ones that are crisp, dry or slightly sweet. Some options to consider would be Pinot Grigio or a dry Reisling. The lightly acidic finish of wines like these will offset the fat from the Porchetta while leaving the smoky flavor of the roast intact.
I’m Griffin and I make my living as a freelance writer and wannabe sci fi author. Besides my obsession with words, I have a few others which may or may not include craft beer, backcountry hikes and spending time with loved ones – preferably in that order. Thanks for checking out my work and I hope you enjoy it!