porchetta in Cooking Posted December 4, 2002 Pork belly is great braised. I especially like all the variations of Chinese red-cooked pork belly.The reason the recipe above interested me, though, was that I love porchetta and am always looking for new recipes for it. I'd always used pork shoulder, but I really liked the pork belly, plus it was very beautiful looking when sliced in rounds because of the alternating layers of fat and lean with the seasoning paste in the center.I found a Mario Batali recipe for Porchetta Sarda (Sardinian-style) in Vino Italiano. He uses a 5-lb. piece of pork loin, butterflied, and I think I could use pork belly instead. He brines the pork overnight in 3 tablespoons salt and 4 cups of water; at the same time he mashes up a big head of garlic and lets the garlic sit overnight in a cup of dry white wine. The next day, rinse the salt off the pork and dry it well. Add julienned sage leaves, a lot of chopped Italian parsley, and olive oil to moisten to the garlic-wine mixture. Salt the inside of the meat and rub the garlic-herb paste over the surface. Roll the pork up, tie with butcher's string at 1" intervals. Put in a roasting pan and brush a mixture of acacia or bitter Sardinian honey with the zest and juice of 1 lemon over the entire surface of the roast, reserving some of the mix for basting. Season with black pepper. Roast in 450 degree oven, basting every 15 minutes with the remaining honey mix. He only roasts the pork for 70 minutes, until the internal temperature is 140 degrees, and then lets it cool for 1/2 hour before serving. (If using the pork belly instead of the loin, I'd probably lower the temperature some after the first hour and let it go on cooking for quite some time more.) While the pork is resting, add the remaining basting mix and a cup of stock to the roasting pan and, over medium heat, scrape up the dark bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to 2/3 cup. Strain and whisk is a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper.Paula Wolfert has a very long recipe for porchetta using pork shoulder. She removes the entire skin and then roasts the pork with the skin draped over the pork for the first half of the roasting time, and then puts the skin under the roasting rack and meat for the last half (5 hours total at 300 degrees). After the pork is removed from the oven, she raises the oven to 400 degrees and crisps and browns the skin. Removing the skin from the belly might solve the problem of a too-thick, not crisp enough skin that I had this time, and also let the outermost layer of fat crisp and cook off some.