This recipe comes from Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook. Although I’m half Italian, my grandmother never made anything quite like this dish—most probably because she was from southern Italy where dairy products were scarce and tomatoes were used more often.
This recipe might seem strange at first, but it yields a delicious, succulent pork roast with a wonderful, subtle flavor. There is just enough sauce to nap the meat and perhaps top some garlic mashed potatoes which make a wonderful accompaniment. With winter weather upon us, this makes a wonderful Sunday dinner…or anytime dinner for that matter.
I’m posting some pictures, but I have to admit I draw better pictures with words than I create with a camera! I decided to switch the camera mode to manual so I could turn out the flash (which was bleaching everything out too much) and it seems that the longer exposure requires a steadier hand than I possess. I swear, I hadn’t even broken into the wine yet when these were taken! Hopefully they will at least give you some idea of what to expect!
I’ve lightened the recipe a little—less butter and oil, and, since we never have anything but ½ % milk in the house, that is what I use. I’m sure the sauce would be even more delicious with whole milk!
Marcella warns that you may have over a cup of fat to remove when the roast is done, but my guess is that she’s used to dealing with European pork. Ours has become so lean that this yields surprisingly little fat.
1 TBL butter
1 TBL olive oil
2 lbs. pork loin
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Freshly grated pepper – 5 to 6 twists
2 to 2 ½ cups milk
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy lidded pan or Dutch oven until foam subsides. Add pork, fat side down, and brown, then turn and brown thoroughly on all sides.
Add the salt, pepper and milk (be sure to add the milk slowly so it doesn’t boil up and over). Allow the milk to come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and partially cover. Cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, basting occasionally (or, what I do is to simply turn the roast over.)
Remove the meat to a platter. If the milk has not darkened at all, boil rapidly until it begins to turn a light brown. Remove fat—the easiest way is to pour the liquid through a fat separator. Return milk to pan (and be sure to keep those coagulated milk clusters that give the sauce its flavor) and stir over medium heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the sauce reduces to a few tablespoons.
At this point, the sauce has a rather unusual appearance but a delicious taste! To make it look more like a sauce, I sometimes put it in a blender and whirl for a few seconds, but that is not necessary for the taste!
Slice meat into 3/8 inch thick slices, arrange on a platter and serve with sauce. Bon Appetit!