Although this particular recipe didn’t originate in Genoa, the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, the Genoa influence is unmistakable. It is as colorful as the city itself. This hilly Italian community with breathtaking views of the Italian northwest coastline, is also a window into authentic Italian life. The city’s narrow streets are crammed with family-run restaurants featuring local fresh seafood and the region’s famous specialty: pesto. Without question, pesto is one of the easiest things to make, so be sure to create fresh pesto for this wonderful stuffed pork roast.
This recipe is nothing new – it’s been floating about the internet for a while now, usually with the same beautiful photograph regardless of which site you visit. The stuffed pork tenderloin can be roasted in the oven (as I did mine) or grilled over indirect heat on the barbecue for added smokey goodness. I had clipped and saved the recipe for what seemed like a very long time, afraid to give it a whirl. It’s not a difficult recipe to follow. In fact, it sounded incredibly delicious. So what was the hold up you ask? The key ingredient in the “stuffing” was fresh pesto. Pesto is something my guys are not wild about. It is one of those preconceived notions that somehow got stuck in their heads. Maybe it’s a green thing, who knows. What I did notice was that they both skipped over dishes in restaurants that feature Pesto in the description. Whenever suggested, they wrinkled their noses and politely declined. I had made the mistake once of making something yummy with Pesto, and then telling them before hand that it was a Pesto dish. Without even so much as a bite, they decided it was “yucky.” My mistake, one I wasn’t going to repeat. Before making this stuffed pork roast, I decided to get the guys use to eating Pesto. I began adding pesto as part of our dining routine whenever possible without telling them “oh, by the way, that’s pesto your eating.” Finally, I was sure they were ready for Genoa Style Pork Roast . . .
Before I share the recipe, I need to say a few things about the changes I’ve made. The original recipe calls for 1/2 pound each of ground pork and Italian ground sausage (in bulk, not casings). I don’t know about where you may shop, but where I shop you can’t buy a half pound of ground anything without dealing directly with the butcher. The moment you get the butcher involved, the price tag takes a jump. A half a pound of ground pork and a half a pound of ground Italian Sausage is a pound of ground meat, right? So why not use a pound of ground Italian sausage and be done with it? I suppose that’s possible, expect for one thing – flavor. Italian Sausage has a bite to it, that noticeable licorice flavor from toasted anise seeds. Obviously the creators of this recipe did not want the Italian Sausage to overpower everything else. Why else would they want the flavor of sausage to be cut with the ground pork? I guess I could have bought a pound of each, divided it, froze the half pound of each that wasn’t going to be used for this recipe and moved on. Or use something else – something flavorful that could be had in one pound servings – such as country breakfast sausage. Flavor, without coming on too strong. It was amazing. The tenderloin, the pork stuffing and the pesto all had starring roles on the plate, complimenting each other beautifully. This is one of my favorite company’s coming dishes. This pork roast is very filling, and can easily serve 10 to 12 people. It’s a real crowd-pleaser that is as colorful as it is flavorful. I hope you enjoy!
Genoa Style Stuffed Pork Loin Roast
4-5 pound boneless pork loin roast
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 1/4 cups fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pound Ground Pork (Country Sausage)
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1/2 Cup Water
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Roughly chop basil, pine nuts, parsley and garlic. Place in the bowl of a food processor along with the Parmesan cheese. Plus to blend into a spreadable pesto. Set aside.
Mix together well the ground pork, bread crumbs, milk, egg, remaining 1/4 cup parsley and pepper.
Butterfly pork loin by cutting through roast horizontally to within 1/4-inch of the other side. Do not cut all the way through. Open out to roughly a rectangle. Spread with the herb-cheese mixture and place the ground pork mixture along center of loin. Fold closed, secure with kitchen twine.
Place roast on V-roasting rack fatty side up inside shallow roasting pan. Roast for about an hour. A nice crust should begin to form. Add about 1/2 cup water to the roasting pan and continue to roast for an additional 30 minutes, until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Remove roast from oven; tent to keep warm and let rest 10 minutes. Slice to serve. If desired, serve with pan drippings for added flavor.
Suggested sides: Steamed summer squash, wild rice and freshly baked Rosemary-Garlic bread.