No. 99: Porchetta from Parisi
If you go to certain regions of central Italy, you'll discover that porchetta -- spit-roasted pig with a crisped, fatty skin -- is pimped on just about every street corner. Sold from trucks and carts, it's hardly a novelty in that part of the world, despite the laborious task of stuffing the beast with its own innards, aromatic spices and herbs and sliding it into a wood-fired oven for hours of slow cooking.
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At Parisi, which has always boasted a board of magnificent pastas that beautifully mimic owner Simone Parisi's homeland, porchetta now makes an appearance on the menu -- in a panino and on its own, where the perfumed porcine is stuffed with garlic, thyme, fennel, piney rosemary and liberally massaged with fistfuls of salt and pepper. Parisi slow-roasts the spiraled loin, wrapped in pork belly, in a wood-burning oven crackling with the embers of oak, and the result is a succulent slab of meaty, sublimely seasoned hog that's paired with a heap of braised kale and cannellini beans aromatic with garlic.
It's one of the loveliest swine-centric dishes I've had in a long, long time -- and I can't wait to go back for seconds.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below:
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