Porchetta – Roasted piglet

Porchetta – Alessio Damato CC BY-SA 3.0

Porchetta – Roasted piglet

Porchetta is a typical dish of central Italy and a few northern regions. It consists of a whole pig, emptied, boned, and seasoned, ideal for snacks in the cellar, typical of wine production areas. Its consumption is traditionally associated with street vendors who go where there is a considerable influx of people (village festivals, fairs, markets, festivals, etc.).
The place of elaboration of the recipe of porchetta is still uncertain. The inhabitants of Ariccia, in Latium, claim paternity of the original recipe. In Umbria, they believe it is from Norcia, famous since Roman times for pig breeding (the noun “norcino”). In Upper Latium, they think it is from the time of the Etruscans. However, the tradition of porchetta di Campli in the province of Teramo is very ancient, where there is evidence in the nearby picen necropolis of Campovalano.
In Campli, the municipal statutes of 1575, renewed by Margherita of Austria, contained many indications about the use, sale, and cooking of porchetta. Similar claims of primogeniture exist in places of the Marches. Porchetta is also common in Romagna and the Ferrara area. There are many sources that porchetta originated in Poggio Bustone in the province of Rieti.
In the 20th century, porchetta was successful in the Veneto region, spreading to Treviso and Padua, becoming a familiar local product for Veneto consumers.

Tradition and flavors
There are two fundamental types of seasoning and, therefore, taste, dictated by tradition. In southern Tuscany, in the south Castelli Romani, Sabina, and other central Italy areas, it is flavored with rosemary (ramerino in Tuscan). Typical are the one from Selci (P.A.T.) and the one from Ariccia (P.G.I.): “la porca co un bosco de rosmarino in de la panza” (the pig with the wood of rosemary in her belly), as Carlo Emilio Gadda wrote in Quer pasticciaccio brutto de via Merulana. In Castelli Romani and in particular, in the towns of Ariccia, Cecchina, and Marino, some characteristic places, called “fraschette,” where it is possible to taste porchetta and local wine. Besides the traditional kiosks were bread from Genzano and Porchetta di Ariccia, reign with their fragrances.
In Alto Lazio, Umbria, Marche, and Romagna, porchetta is flavored with wild fennel, which gives it an unmistakable aroma and taste. Typical of this tradition is the porchetta (roast suckling pig) prepared in Cellere (F.lli Forati), Soriano nel Cimino, Bagnaia, Vignanello, Vallerano, and Sutri (Tuscia viterbese) and Costano, in Umbria. The porchetta of Campli is different from the one prepared in other areas because of the fragrances, times, and cooking methods; for example, wild fennel is not used.


One suckling pig, 18-22 lbs.
Four cloves garlic
olive oil
Two tbs. white wine
wild fennel seeds
Four sprigs rosemary

How to make the Porchetta – Roasted piglet:

Chop and saute the piglet’s liver, heart, and kidney in 2 tbs. Of olive oil. When hot, add the white wine, reduce and remove from heat. The piglet, seasoned with its liver, heart, and kidneys, plus wild fennel seeds, rosemary, salt, pepper, a fair amount of garlic, coriander, nutmeg, and pepperoncini, is then rolled up like a giant sausage, securely tied with colorless thread, and roasted whole on a spit over charcoal made from aromatic wood for about 4 hours. Cooking time varies according to the piglet’s size. The piglet should be basted frequently with a rosemary sprig dipped in oil and white or red wine.
The juice and fat, collected in the drip pan (leccarda), can be used to cook potatoes and onions, which you may serve together with the porchetta. Sometimes porchetta is also roasted in the oven.

Porchetta is always boned to make it easier to serve and eat.

Porchetta – Roasted piglet is a Regional recipe from Latium, Umbria, Tuscany, Marche, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Basilicata, Abruzzo
Production area Castelli Romani (Ariccia, Marino), Sabina and Cicolano, Tuscan and Latium Maremma, Tuscia viterbese, southern Tuscany, Umbria (Costano),(Grutti), Abruzzo (Campli, Colledara, Luco dei Marsi, Penne), Marche, Romagna, Casentino, Basilicata, Veneto

Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at enricomassetti@msn.com.