Authentic Calabrian Italian Food. Roast Belly of Pork and Grilled Vegetables (Porchetta e Verdure ai Ferri)

As anyone who has followed this blog closely knows, I have spent an extended time in Italy, either sailing the coasts & islands or hanging in Pantelleria. I loved spending time at people’s houses, eating authentic regional food. So when I got talking to a colleague, with Calabrian heritage, who told me he had written a book of his mother’s authentic recipes, of course, I got straight on to Amazon and downloaded it!
The book is an absolute treasure, telling stories of Calabria as well as beautiful recipes. Check out the funny story preceding the Salami recipe!!!
I asked if Frank would like to collaborate and I would publish a couple of recipes if I link to his book! The tough part was choosing which recipes to start with? After a discussion with my husband, I decided the pork belly and the grilled vegetables would be a great place to start. We slightly moderated the recipes as it was just the two of us, but the flavor transported us straight to Southern Italy!! The wine pairing completes the Italian summer night experience.
Be sure to download the book, by clicking the link. (Disclaimer at the end of the recipe)

The Food of Southern Italy and Calabria by Francesco Altomare

Intro from Frank;
Follow me on a journey through Calabria and Southern Italy. Discover food, people and a land that will feed your very soul. Travel with me as we cross the realm of ‘cucina povera’. We will cook together as we voyage from the past to the present day. We will discover recipes from the mountains to the sea. We will dine on the food behind the personal stories and fables of this rich and ancient land. I have been travelling, cooking and eating cuchina povera for over fifty years. It has taken me fifty years to get round to writing this book. All you need to do is spare some time to uncover a food that will fill your soul with Calabrian sunshine.

WINE NOTE: I paired Verdicchio with this lovely pork dish, as the fennel nuances of the wine complement the fennel flavor in the pork so well, creating a symphony of flavor.

Roast Belly of Pork

2.2lbs / 1 kg Belly pork
1 tbsp Fennel Seeds
1 Rosemary sprig leaves picked and chopped
3 Sage leaves chopped
1 Thyme Sprig leaves picked
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 Garlic cloves minced

Place the belly onto a meat prep board and rub with the sea salt and pepper. Put in the refrigerator.
Place a small skillet on a gentle heat and toast the fennel seeds gently- toast but don’t burn. Transfer the seeds to a herb grinder or pestle and mortar and grind.
Preheat the oven to 420F / 220C & remove the pork belly from the refrigerator.
Rub the garlic over the pork, then sprinkle the chopped herbs and thyme leaves over.

Pork belly ready to go in the oven

Place in a roasting pan and roast for about 15-20 minutes. Remove and cover with foil while you lower the oven temp to 300F / 150C. Return to the oven for approximately 2 hours. Remove and rest for 20 minutes.
If serving hot, add a ladle of water to the roasting pan and place over a gentle heat and deglaze the pan. Pour the juice over the pork when serving.

Verdure ai Ferri
Grilled Vegetables

1 Large Eggplant / Aubergine 1/4 inch / 5 mm slices
2 Zucchini / Courgettes 1/4 inch / 5 mm slices
12 Mushrooms halved
Sunflower oil
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
1 Garlic clove
Dry chilli flakes
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Small handful of fresh mint leaves

These can be cooked on the grill or on a large griddle pan over the gas burners on high heat.
Place the eggplant slices on the griddle to sear.
Toss the mushrooms in a splash of sunflower oil.
When charred, turn the eggplant slices to char the other side. Remove and place in a serving bowl.
Repeat the cooking process with the zucchini and mushrooms. Place in the serving bowl.
Toss with a splash of olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and chili flakes, to taste.
Serve cold.

CHEERS! ENJOY!!! For more Italian inspiration, visit

(Disclaimer- as an Amazon associate, I earn money from sales.)



  1. Oh that sounds lovely – it’s so nice to use authentic recipes rather than Anglicised ones


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