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Food, wine and wanderings from our beloved Italy

Braised Pork in the Black: Brasato di Maiale Nero

Braised Pork in the Black: Brasato di Maiale Nero

This recipe is incredibly simple and has an incredible depth of flavor. It uses the most inexpensive cut of meat: pork loin. You can size this recipe for a crowd.

Pork loins usually weigh in at around 4 pounds which serves about 8 people. Cut it in half for 4 people or 2 people with leftovers. This dish is great the next day in sandwiches (panini).

This recipe and the associated “Sweet and Sour Butternut Squash: Zucca in Agrodolce” are from a Mario Batali Sicilian episode entitled “Vineyard Dinner”.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 (4-pound) pork loin, tied at regular intervals with butcher’s twine
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 1/2 ounces pancetta
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed with the flat edge of a knife
  • 1/4 cup flat parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup plus 1 cup simple red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes and their juices, crushed with your hands

Season the pork with the salt, rubbing it into the meat, and place the sage leaves around the loin tucked under the twine. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Mince together the pancetta, garlic and parsley to form a paste, smooth mixture. Perhaps use a food processor for this step. In a large, cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and add the pork paste, cooking until it has melted into the oil. Place the pork in the pan and brown on all sides so that a uniform crust is formed. Add 1 cup red wine and reduce by 3/4. Add the remaining cup of wine and the tomatoes, cover, and bring to a low simmer. Cook for 2 hours, until meat is fork tender.

To be sure not to over cook and dry out, use a meat thermometer and cook until the internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees.

Remove meat from casserole, allow to rest 15 minutes, and remove string and sage leaves. Serve in 1/3-inch thick slices.

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