Arista alla porchetta

dsc01820Note from sis, Michele :o) – This recipe comes to us from my brother, Joe, who thankfully is starting to post his great recipes as well!  He is too modest to mention it below but he is teaching a 4-week  Italian cooking class in LA and this is one of his feature recipes for his ‘Winter in Tuscany’ class.  How fun is that!  So check back often as the blogging continues!!  Back to Joe’s wonderful Arista….

There is a story that’s always told about arista. It sounds apocryphal, but no less an authority than Pellegrino Artusi, the great 19th-century cook, gastronome, and recipe compiler, says the dish was served at a church council meeting in Florence in 1430 to, in Artusi’s words, “smooth out some differences between the Roman and Greek Churches.” When the Greek bishops were served this famous Florentine roast, they were heard to murmur “Arista! Arista!” which in Greek means “This is really terrific!” And arista is still served all over Tuscany including off the back of trucks.

Recipe for 6 to 8 for dinner. Makes great leftovers – make extra!!

Ingredients and equipment:

  • 4 pounds center cut pork loin (not tenderloin), boneless and untied
  • 10 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary removed from stem
  • 1 tablespoon salt (fine or coarse, your preference)
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kitchen twine
  • Meat thermometer
  • Roasting pan with rack (preferred)
  • A friend to help

Note: This recipe is all about the amounts of garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Play with the amounts as you’d like. In my family, more was better (at some point you can overdo it but we never found that place).


Using the garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and olive oil make a very coarse paste. There are two simple ways to do this. 1) Roughly chop in a food processor or herb mill or 2) chop the rosemary and garlic on a cutting board and then rub in the salt and pepper with the side of a chef’s knife (this method only works if you’re using coarse salt) then add to a bowl and mix in the olive oil. The paste should be course enough so you have garlic chunks no smaller than 1/8 inch.

Rinse the pork loin under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Unroll the pork loin onto a clean surface. Spread about 1/2 of the coarse paste all over the top side of the pork loin. Now you need a friend to help. Roll the pork loin up lengthwise like a jellyroll. Have your friend tie the jellyroll pork about every 2 inches.

Once tied, using a sharp knife, make slits all over the pork roll. Stuff the pork roll slits with the remaining coarse paste and rub what’s left all over the pork roll. At this point you can marinate the pork roll overnight in the refrigerator. For a “make all at once” recipe, try and let it marinate for 30 minutes. Before cooking, bring back to room temperature.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Using a meat thermometer, use one of the the 3 methods listed below to roast the pork until the internal temperature is 155 degrees.. Move the thermometer around to several places in the meat as you cook; the herb paste rolled up in the pork can throw off the meat thermometer. Preferably roast on a rack in a roasting pan so it will brown all over.. Be sure not to overcook the meat. You are really better off letting it slightly under cook as it will rest before serving.

  • Method #1: Roast the pork roll at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes. Then for 10 minutes, raise the temperature to 400 degrees to brown all over. The meat thermometer is the final judge, not the time.
  • Method #2: In a separate skillet, brown the pork roll all over with a little oil olive and then put in the preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour. The meat thermometer is the final judge, not the time.
  • Method #3: Just roast it at 350 degrees until it reaches 155 degrees. My family refereed to this as “white pork”.

When done, remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes. Thinly slice about ¼ inch thick and serve with some of the pan juices. Slice right through the kitchen twine or remove the twine in advance. This meat makes REALLY WONDERFUL LEFTOVERS. Serve for the next several days cold or reheat. The slices make great panini (sandwiches).

Join the Conversation

  1. mary Albanese says:

    what a wonderful trip i have just taken. I can smell the great food just from reading the recipes by michele and joe and I can taste the fine wines mark talks about,amust with good eating.

  2. felixpapadakis says:

    Michaela….I had a great time baking with you this morning! This pork roast sounds fabulous! Can’t wait to make it. From a Greek to an Italian……Arista!


  3. Being of Italian heritage I have been making this recipe for many years, except that my herb of preference for pork has always been sage as I normally use rosemary for lamb. I will have to break my hard and fast habit and try Joe’s recipe… nonetheless I have no doubt one is as delicious as the other 🙂

    1. I can’t wait to hear about using sage this with recipe. We used rosemary for as long as I can remember but I think sage is a great idea. Joe

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