by Cindy Chabot

This is a special treat.  I grew up on this spiced pork roast.  We used to buy the pre-prepared porchetta from Oliva’s Market in Milford MA.  When I moved away, I couldn’t find porchetta anywhere – not even the North End in Boston. A couple butcher shops had it, but none tasted anything like what I grew up on. I called Oliva’s and asked if they would mind giving me the ingredients and the cut of pig they use – I explained that I no longer live near there and I am no longer able to come by and buy their porchettas, like I did growing up. They did provide the ingredients (but not quantities). I looked at a couple websites on the internet and combined recipes – this is what I now use and it tastes a great deal like the one I grew up with.


  • Deboned with skin butt pork roast, 6lbs (aka, fresh ham)
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 T. freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 c. fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely choped
  • 1/4 c. olive oil

to place around the pork:

  • 8 potatoes
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
  • 4 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
  • 2 onions, cut into 2” chuncks


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F
  2. Cut the roast in half (but not all the way through the meat) lengthwise and open it like a book.
  3. Combine the salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, fennel seeds and olive oil in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the pork, pressing the fennel seeds and garlic into the meat. Spread the chopped fennel bulb over the meat.
  4. Roll the meat back together and tie it with butcher’s string.
  5. Place the meat in a roasting pan, cover and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
  6. Toward the last 40-50 minutes of cooking, scatter the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions in the roasting pan around the meat, and continue to cook until pork is cooked through and falls apart when touched with a fork.
  7. Stir the vegetables now and then so they brown evenly.
  8. Allow meat to sit for 5 minutes on a cutting board.
  9. To serve, pull the pork apart (instead of slicing), and serve with the roasted vegetables.
  10. Garnish with feathery fennel tops.