Fratelli Perata Winery

Pork Shoulder alla Porchetta (via Mario Batali)

If you haven't yet had the pleasure, drop by Bob Fleming's Alexander's in San Gabriel. We used a pork shoulder he graciously brought up for us to experiment on and it was absolutely superlative stuff.

For this recipe, I seriously advise you to have your butcher de-bone the pork shoulder. Such information is available step-by-step on the internet, but having wrestled for 4 hours with a quarter section of pork, I think it more realistic to ask for help with this step.

4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
Salt and pepper
1/4 c olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, fronds chopped and reserved, bulb thinly sliced
2 pounds ground pork shoulder (you can use already-made sausages if need be (note: Carol did))
2 T fennel seeds
2 T freshly ground black pepper
2T chopped fresh rosemary
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
4 red onions, halved (this is essential and an excellent part of the finished recipe-Carol)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have your butcher butterfly pork shoulder to an even 1 inch thickness; you should have a flat piece of meat about 8 inches by 14inches. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil until smoking. Add the onion and fennel bulb and sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add ground pork, fennel seeds, pepper, rosemary and garlic and cook until mixture assumes a light color, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Add chopped fennel leaves and eggs and mix well.

Spread the mixture over pork loin and roll up like a jelly roll. Tie with butchers twine and place in roast pan on top of halved red onions. Place in oven and roast for 2 1/2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (Ours took another hour-Carol). Remove and allow to rest for 10 to 20 minutes. Slice into 1 inch thick pieces and serve.

I would say, serve with Fratelli Perata Zinfandel. The Zin is great with pork and the fennel in the stuffing picks up the whoosh of licorice in the Zin. Really a light bulb food pairing. Ah, I see it now?

Bob Fleming, Alexander's Meats located inside Howie's Ranch Market, 6580 N San Gabriel Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91755, phone (626) 286-6767.