Although this particular recipe didn’t originate in Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, the Genoa influence is unmistakable. It is as colorful as the city itself. This hilly Italian community with breathtaking views of the Italian northwest coastline, is also a window into authentic Italian life. The city’s narrow streets are crammed with family-run restaurants featuring local fresh seafood and the region’s famous speciality: pesto. Without question, pesto is one of the easiest things to make, so be sure to create fresh pesto for this wonderful stuffed pork roast.
This recipe has been floating around the internet for a while now. It first appeared on porkbeinspired.com – you know, the site with all the yummy recipes for “the other white meat”. It can be roasted in the oven, or grilled over indirect heat for an added smokey flavoring. I’ve had the recipe for over a year now and had yet to give it a whirl. Although it sounded incredibly delicious and not all that complicated, a key part of the “stuffing” was pesto. Pesto is something my family is not wild about. It was one of those preconceived ideas – skipping over dishes in restaurants that featured Pesto in the description. I made the mistake once of making something with Pesto and telling them it was Pesto. Without even so much as trying a bite, they decided it was “yucky.” My mistake. I’ve learned better. Over the last year, I have been adding pesto as part of our routine, without telling them “oh, by the way – you’re eating pesto.” Finally, tonight I thought they were ready for Genoa Style Pork Roast . . .
Before I share the recipe, I need to say a few things about the changes I’ve made. The original recipe calls for 1/2 pound each of ground pork and Italian ground sausage (in bulk, not casings). I don’t know about where you may shop, but where I shop you can’t buy a half pound of ground pork anything. So I made do with what was available – a pound of country breakfast sausage. It was amazing. Packed with flavor without over powering any of the other wonderful things that were happening on the plate. Another change to the original recipe was to add about 1/2 cup of water to the roasting pan during the last 30 minutes of cooking time. I was worried that the outer pork might become too dry. Not only did the water keep everything moist, but it created about a cup or so of sensational pan drippings that I served alongside the roast.
One final warning – this makes a very filling pork dish that will easily serve 10-12 people. So when you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser that is as colorful as it is flavorful, I hope you give this a try.
Genoa Style Stuffed Pork Loin Roast
4-5 pound boneless pork loin roast
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 1/4 cups fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pound Ground Pork (Country Sausage)
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Roughly chop basil, pine nuts, parsley and garlic. Place in the bowl of a food processor along with the Parmesan cheese. Plus to blend into a spreadable pesto. Set aside.
Mix together well the ground pork, bread crumbs, milk, egg, remaining 1/4 cup parsley and pepper.
Butterfly pork loin by cutting through roast horizontally to within 1/4-inch of the other side. Do not cut all the way through. Open out to roughly a rectangle. Spread with the herb-cheese mixture and place the ground pork mixture along center of loin. Fold closed, secure with kitchen twine.
Place roast on V-roasting rack fatty side up inside shallow roasting pan. Roast for about an hour. A nice crust should begin to form. Add about 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan and continue to roast for an additional 30 minutes, until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Remove roast from oven; tent to keep warm and let rest 10 minutes. Slice to serve. If desired, serve with pan drippings for added flavor.
Suggested sides: Steamed summer squash, wild rice and freshly baked Rosemary-Garlic bread.