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Pork Loin Stuffed with Capocollo and Provolone Cheese

Now that we’re moving away from summer temperatures and outdoor barbecues, it’s time to fire up the oven for a nice Sunday roast. This stuffed pork loin really ticks all the boxes — it’s easy to prepare, tastes great and serves at least six to eight people — even though it weighs only two and a half to three pounds. Start out with a pork loin — not a tenderloin, which is smaller and even more tender — but a pork loin. It will become just as tender as a tenderloin with the low and slow oven temperature included in the instructions below. First, you’re going to need to open it to stuff it, so take a sharp knife and cut into it lengthwise, stopping before you reach the bottom.

Keep opening the roast, kind of like a roll, slicing lengthwise the whole way around until you have a pretty even thickness throughout.

I tenderized the meat with a meat pounder, flattening it a bit more, then sprinkled throughout with homemade seasoned salt and black pepper.

Layer on thin slices of capocollo. In this case, I used a spicy version of capocollo to impart a little more flavor to the meat as the fat melts inside.

Layer slices of provolone cheese over the capocollo, and roll up the pork loin.

Then tie it securely with butcher’s twine, sprinkle with more seasoned salt, black pepper and paprika and insert some rosemary and sage into the twine.

Roast it in a slow oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 125 to 130 degrees F. The slow cooking will ensure you have tender slices of meat when you slice into it. Add some potatoes and onions smeared with olive oil and seasonings alongside the roast, but after you remove the roast, and while it’s resting on a cutting board, kick up the temperature to 450 degrees to let the vegetables get nicely browned.

If you want the outside fat on the roast to be crispier, just add a little olive oil to a skillet, turn the heat to high and sear the cooked roast on top. I didn’t do this extra step, but my roast didn’t have much fat on top either.

Make sure to let the roast rest at least fifteen minutes before slicing into it, so the juices don’t all come gushing out. It will also help to keep the filling intact too, once you slice into it.

As I said, the roast serves a lot of people, and we had enough leftovers for a great lunch the next day. Take a crusty roll and add a slice or two of the roast, some roasted red peppers, cooked broccoli rabe, and some melted provolone cheese. It’s worth making this recipe just to have these delicious sandwiches the next day.

Nerd Notes: If you’re confused about the names — is it capocollo, capicola or coppa? click here for a terrific explanation about these cured meat from DiBruno Brothers, one of my favorite shops in Philadelphia’s old Italian Market.

Click here to connect with me on Instagram and find out what’s cooking in Ciao Chow Linda’s kitchen each day (and more).

Pork Loin Stuffed with Capocollo and Provolone Cheese
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 two and a half to three pound pork loin (NOT tenderloin)
  • ¼ pound spicy capocollo
  • ¼ pound provolone cheese
  • seasoned salt
  • black pepper
  • paprika
  • rosemary sprigs
  • sage sprigs
  • olive oil to coat pan.
Instructions
  1. Dry the pork loin with paper towels.
  2. Take a sharp knife and slice it lengthwise, avoiding going all the way through.
  3. Keep rolling the pork over, continuing to slice open the entire length, as if you're opening a book.
  4. Pound the roast with a meat pounder to tenderize, then sprinkle with seasoned salt and black pepper.
  5. Lay tthe slices of capocollo over the roast, then layer over the cheese.
  6. Roll it up tightly, making sure to end up with the fat layer of the roast on top.
  7. Secure it with butcher's twine.
  8. Season the outside with the seasoned salt, black pepper, and paprika, then insert rosemary and sage leaves into the twine.
  9. Roast for 1½ to two hours at 275 degrees F. or until a meat thermometer registers 125 to 130 degrees.
  10. Remove from the oven and let it rest at least 15 minutes or as long as ½ hour.
  11. Remove the twine, slice and serve.
 

Tuscan-style Pork Roast

If you’ve ever roasted a pork loin (not the tenderloin) and ended up with a tough piece of meat on your plate, this post is for you. Except for an outside layer, the pork loin has no fat and is easy to overcook. But this recipe, adapted from “America’s Test Kitchen,”  gives you a circular interior roll of marbling that adds lots of juicy flavor.

I started out with what I thought was one five pound roast, but when I untied the butcher’s string, I discovered a couple of two and a half pound roasts instead.  I needed only one of these roasts for my book club’s dinner earlier this week, and cooked the second one the following night.

Take a long, sharp knife and cut through the roast, slicing to open the piece of meat so it lies flat, trying to get an even thickness. After cutting, pound it with a meat press (keeping a piece of plastic over the meat) to help make it flatter and more even. Then season liberally on both sides with salt, pepper and fennel pollen (or fennel seed pulverized with a grinder or mortar and pestle). Set aside.

Place some chopped garlic, minced rosemary, red pepper flakes and lemon zest in a cold pan with olive oil and cook gently for a few minutes, until the garlic starts to sizzle. Drain through a strainer, reserving the oil, and placing the solids in a food processor.

Chop some pancetta and add to the mixture in the food processor.

Blend until a paste. If your pancetta is too lean (as mine was), add a little olive oil.

Spread the paste over the flattened meat.

Roll up and tie with butcher’s twine.Season the meat again on the outside with salt, pepper and fennel pollen (or crushed fennel seed).

Place on a rack and roast at 275 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours, or until a thermometer reads 125 to 130 degrees. You can still end up with a tough, dry roast if it reaches too high a temperature, so keep a close watch on it.

Remove from the oven (it will not have much of a browned appearance – yet) and let rest, covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes.

While the roast is resting, sear lemons in a hot skillet and make the lemon-olive oil sauce (recipe below).

After the roast has rested for 20 minutes or so, heat a bit of olive oil in a cast iron pan, or a heavy skillet, and sear it until the fatty side takes on a nice browned color.

Slice and serve with a lemon-olive oil sauce (recipe below).

Tuscan-style Pork Roast
 
Ingredients
  • Adapted from America's Test Kitchen:
  • For Two Pork Loins (2½ pounds each)
  • 16 cloves garlic (yes, that's right)
  • ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • zest of one lemon, grated
  • 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
  • 5-6 ounces pancetta (not too lean)
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fennel pollen (or ground fennel seed)
Instructions
  1. Put the garlic, red pepper flakes and lemon zest in a cold pan with the olive oil.
  2. Heat on low to medium for about 3 minutes or until the garlic starts to sizzle.
  3. Add the minced rosemary and stir for about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour everything (over a bowl) through a fine mesh strainer, pressing to get as much liquid through as possible. Set the olive oil aside.
  5. Cut the pancetta into small pieces and put into a food processor, along with the lemon garlic mixture (not the olive oil).
  6. Pulse about 30 seconds or until you have a paste, adding some olive oil if needed.
  7. Take a long, sharp knife and cut into the pork loin, about 1 inch from the edge, and staying even, cut it open in a "book" fashion, until the roast is one long flat piece.
  8. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the meat and pound even.
  9. Season liberally with salt, pepper and the fennel pollen.
  10. Spread the paste evenly over the inside of the roast and roll back up.
  11. Tie it with butcher's twine and place on a rack.
  12. Put it in the refrigerator at least one hour, or even overnight to allow flavors to meld into the meat.
  13. Roast in a 275 degree oven for 1½ to 2 hours, or until an internal temperature of 125 degrees to 130 degrees. The temperature will continue to rise while it's resting.
  14. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for twenty minutes to a half hour.
  15. Meanwhile, make the lemon olive oil sauce by cutting two lemons in half and searing the cut ends in a very hot cast iron skillet.
  16. Remove the lemons from the heat, and squeeze out the juice.
  17. Add the juice to the reserved olive oil mixture and whisk.
  18. Using a heavy skillet, heat it over high flame and pour about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil into it.
  19. Sear the fatty side of the roast in the olive oil.
  20. Slice and serve with the lemon-olive oil sauce.
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