Known as “mirto” in Italy, myrtle brings an unexpected herbal bite to this Pork Loin alla Porchetta, or in the style of Porchetta. Sundays at Babbo, the kitchen prepares a traditional Porchetta, a whole, boneless pig stuffed with savory sausage and herbs. This recipe, in which we substitute pork loin for the entire pig, is itself a truly satisfying, family-style meal.




Have your butcher butterfly the pork loin to an even 1-inch thickness. You should have a flat piece of meat about 8 inches by 14 inches. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.


In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil until smoking. Add the onion and fennel bulb and sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the ground pork, fennel seeds, 2 tablespoons myrtle, black pepper, rosemary, and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture takes on a light color, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and drain any excess liquid. Mix in the chopped fennel fronds and eggs.


Spread the mixture evenly over the pork loin and roll up like a jelly roll. Tie with butcher’s twine and place in a roasting pan on top of the halved onions. Sprinkle remaining myrtle over and rub in well with hands. Place in oven and roast 75 minutes, or until the interior temperature is 130°F.


Allow to rest 20 minutes, then slice into 1-inch thick pieces and serve with sautéed favas and a salad of dandelions or other bitter greens.