We love porchetta in this house, but in all honesty, it is a labor of love. That is probably the reason why it is reserved for special occasions and holidays. We found a way to get all those wonderful flavors in a much easier recipe. This Fennel, Sage and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin, will be your go-to fall dish even on a weeknight!
If you are not familiar Wikipedia describes porchetta as a savory, fatty, and moist pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. It is traditionally made from a whole deboned pig, that is stuffed with aromatics, like fennel, herbs, and garlic, rolled and tied then roasted until pure perfection. Here in the states, I have seen recipes for just a pork tenderloin stuffed and rolled with pork belly. When we make it we have used a butterflied pork shoulder (with skin on), that we stuff with aromatics, roll, and tie, then roast. Needless, to say that is some work. I had the idea to take those same aromatics used inside of the meat to rub the pork tenderloins with them. This is so much easier and gives us all the wonderful flavors of a traditional porchetta without all the work. You can make the marinade the day before and toss the tenderloin with it and cook the next day. What we also love about these tenderloins is they only take 20 minutes to cook, so if you marinate the pork the day before it makes a great weeknight meal.
- 1½ tbsp fennel seeds
- 1-1½ tsp red pepper flakes, depending on heat tolerance
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp, chopped fresh sage
- 1½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 pork tenderloins, 1 pound each
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Toast fennel seeds and red pepper flaked in a small skillet over medium heat, until fragrant. About 1 minutes. Transfer to a small bow and allow to cool. Once cool, grind in a spice grinder. Alternatively, this can be done in a mortar and pestle. It does not have to be crushed smooth, but mostly crushed will do. Transfer to a small bowl.
- To the spices add salt, chopped sage, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, and olive oil. Stir to combine. Place the pork tenderloins in a gallon zip lock freezer bag and add the marinade. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator, preferably.
- Preheat the oven to 450°
- minutes before you plan to cook the tenderloin, take it out of the refrigerator.
- minutes before you plan to cook the tenderloin place a cast iron skillet in the oven.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and add 1 tsp of oil. Swirl it around the hot pan to coat. Place one of the tenderloins in the skillet and return to the oven for 8 minutes. I cook one tenderloin at a time, see notes. If the tenderloin is slightly larger than the skillet, tuck it so it will fit. The tenderloin will shrink as it cooks.
- Reduce the heat to 400° after 8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and flip the tenderloin over. Return to the oven for an additional 8 minutes. The pork is finished when it reaches 140-145°.
Use only 1 tsp of red pepper flakes to make it less spicy. Using 1½ tsp there is definitely some heat to this recipe.
I cook one tenderloin at a time if cooking both you will have to add a few more minutes to the cooking time.
More delicious pork recipes!
Here’s a link to the mortar and pestle we use.