Cooking a roast has always been an easy solution to feeding my family. It may start as the centrepiece of a sit-down dinner, but leftovers are easily recycled into at least one more dinner later in the week and often provide for a few lunches as well. Another part of its appeal is that it requires minimal prep work before going into the oven and minimal attention while it's roasting away.
Some meats are a little trickier to roast than others: pork loin, a lean cut that doesn't have a lot of flavour to start with and tends to dry out easily is one of them. This recipe from Giada de Laurentiis
deals with both of those issues. The boneless roast is first
rubbed with a paste of garlic and fresh herbs (I used sage
and thyme) then wrapped with thin slices of pancetta (Italian bacon). The bacon adds flavour, but also helps protect the meat from drying out.
Adding a little wine and stock to the roasting pan, which help create the delicious pan juices that will later be served with the roast, and then blasting it at a high temperature (450F) so the pancetta crisps also helps keep it moist. Ultimately, what's most important is not overcooking the meat. Giada recommends roasting it until it reaches an internal temperature of only 135F. I was a little wary of this low temp at first, but the residual heat continues to cook the meat while it rests so that it's barely pink and juicy once carved.
The aroma wafting from the kitchen while it roasts is incredible and it tastes even better than it smells!
Sautéed green beans, another of Giada's recipes, are a great way to add colour to the plate and the flavour of these ones complement those of the pork. Blanched green beans are quickly cooked in a simple tomato sauce made with canned tomatoes, shallots, garlic and a little white wine. So good I could eat the entire bowl as my meal!
Served with Creamy Mashed Potatoes.
Both recipes are from the book Giada's Family Dinners but they can also be found on the Foodnetwork website: Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast and Sautéed Green Beans and Basil.