Porchetta-style Roast Pork with Arugula Pesto

From Julie Van Rosendaal

2014 Jul/Aug

Pork shoulder is a cheap and flavourful yet under-used cut of meat. A long, slow roasting time breaks down tough connective tissues, making the roast meltingly tender. It’s delicious dribbled with bright, peppery arugula pesto, which provides an acidic foil to the rich meat.



  • 1 4-5 lb. pork shoulder
  • canola or olive oil
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arugula Pesto:

  • 1 c. (packed) baby arugula
  • 1/2 c. (packed) basil leaves
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated parmesan
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 – 1 c. good-quality olive oil
  • salt


On a cutting board, pat the pork dry with a paper towel, then drizzle with oil and rub all over to coat. Rub with garlic, then sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper and rub them all over too.

Preheat the oven to 450°F, or preheat your grill to high. Put the pork in a roasting pan and slide it into the oven, or grill it all over directly on the grill grate, turning with tongs, until nicely golden on all sides. If you’re doing it in the oven, roast for 20-30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 300°F. If you browned it on the grill, turn the oven on to 300°F, transfer the pork to a roasting pan or baking dish and put it in the oven.

Cover and roast for 3 -1/2 to 4 hours, until very tender. If you think of it, take the lid off when you have about an hour left to go. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let it rest 15 minutes.

To make the pesto, combine everything but the olive oil and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until well blended and chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube until it has a saucy consistency. Add a pinch of salt if it needs it, and dribble the pesto over the porchetta. Serves 8.