Here is a dish that was inspired primarily by chilly Fall evenings and the abundance of fresh pumpkin showing up at all the markets here in Rome. You may remember the pumpkin risotto with clams we sampled a few weekends ago at La Quercia on an especially chilly and rainy Saturday. Pumpkin finds its way in many Roman dishes from Soups to Stuffing for Ravioli. In fact this puree, thinned out with chicken or vegetable stock is really delicious as a soup the next day.
Stuffed Pork Loin with Pumpkin Puree
1 Ib pork loin
1/2 Ib ground pork
1 small onion (any variety except red)
1/2 fennel bulb
1 Tbs. fresh chopped thyme
1 Tbs. fresh chopped rosemary
1 Tbs. fresh chopped sage
1 Tbs. fresh chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
- Chop the fennel bulb and onion and saute in olive oil until translucent and tender.
- Add ground pork and cook gently until the pork turns a light gray and then toss in the freshly chopped herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve mixture in a mixing bowl and allow to cool.
3. To butterfly the pork loin cut lengthwise down the center of the loin stopping short by about one inch. From this point turn the knife 90 degrees and cut horizontally in both directions away from the center cut; again stopping short by about one inch. The loin can now be opened up like a book and should be almost flat.
4. Cover butterflied loin with plastic wrap and pound to flatten to an even thickness.
5. Add lightly beaten egg to cooled stuffing mixture and mix well. Add the stuffing in a thin layer to the flattened pork loin.
6. Roll the loin from the short side into a tight roll and tie with kitchen twine in 2 inch intervals. Place the tied loin into a roasting pan with halved onions as a base to roast the loin. Add small bits of fresh bacon and water to the roasting pan and place in a 350 degree oven and roast until done, about 50 minutes basting occasionally during the cooking to keep the roast moist.
7. Remove from the oven and let rest while preparing the pumpkin puree.
3 cups of fresh pumpkin, peeled and cubed.
1/4 cup of cream
1tsp. of fresh chopped Thyme
2 tsp. fresh chopped Sage
2 Tbs. of finely grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper
- Place chopped pumpkin and chopped herbs in a medium pot and add enough water to almost cover.
- Simmer until pumpkin is very tender. It should be falling apart.
- With an immersion blender or regular blender puree the pumpkin with enough of the cooking liquid to make thick puree. Add the cream and Parmesan and continue pureeing to obtain an even smooth consistency.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Plating and Serving: Ladle a portion of the pumpkin puree into a shallow bowl and place a slice or two of the pork loin onto the puree; garnish with croutons and fresh sage.