Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

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This timeless stuffed pork recipe offers stuffing ingredient flexibility with seasonal suggestions for herbs, meat, and vegetables.

Stuffed Pork Loin Recipe | FWCooks
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
Yield:
6 to 8 servings

When I was younger, one of my favorite things was any kind of "stuffed" food: stuffed chicken breasts, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed peppers, grape leaves, pork. You get the idea. There was something magical about cutting into one thing only to find something altogether different on the inside. Alas, many stuffed foods have been consigned to the "old-fashioned" category, but I'm convinced they deserve to return to the table. Picture a stuffed chicken breast cut into rounds that show off the multicolored stuffing inside, fanned across the plate — I'm pretty sure no one would reject that as dated. Or how about beautiful, deep green Swiss chard leaves (like <a href="https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/picadillo-stuffed-leaves">this recipe</a> from Justin Chapple) filled with a wildly savory ground pork and rice stuffing, just begging to be eaten?

Here I have a recipe for you that could hardly be easier or less intimidating — stuffed pork loin. It's easy enough to make for your family on a Tuesday night and beautiful enough to save for guests on Saturday. Pork loin, not to be confused with the much smaller tenderloin, is fairly lean, very inexpensive, and easy to work with. And the best part: It requires only three very simple cuts to butterfly it in preparation for stuffing. (See my recipe below for specific directions.) The stuffing is an herb pesto, which can be changed depending on what's in season or what you have available in your refrigerator that you need to use up. My recipe leans on tarragon, chives, basil, parsley, scallions, and lemon zest to form a light, bright pesto that will flavor the loin from the inside. But feel free to use whatever you have on hand. No scallions? Use a couple of tablespoons of minced onion. For the herbs, use a mix of whatever you have on hand that's green and soft, like arugula or even kale; you'll need about two and a half to three cups of leafy, flavorful greens. (You could even substitute about a half to three-quarters cup store-bought pesto, in a pinch.)

For a bit of luxury, I've added some prosciutto, but feel free to omit it or use whatever thinly sliced cured meat you have around. All you'll need to do is open up the pork loin, pound it to an even thickness, salt the meat, paint it with the pesto, top the pesto with the prosciutto and cheese, roll it back up, tie it, and roast it. The whole procedure takes about an hour, and the results are delicious — and anything but outdated.

Ingredients

Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves

  • 1/2 cup fresh dill leaves

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

  • 3 scallions, trimmed, white and green parts chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh horseradish or 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Pork

  • 1 (3-pound) pork loin roast

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 6 slices prosciutto

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Make the pesto

  1. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Ingredients for pesto.

  2. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Combine basil, tarragon, dill, chives, scallions, thyme, horseradish, garlic, and lemon zest in a blender or food processor. With processor running, drizzle in oil through food chute. Process until mostly smooth.

Make the pork

  1. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Ingredients for the pork.

  2. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the loin on a cutting board with the fat cap on the board and the small end facing you. With a very sharp knife, cut the loin lengthwise to within 1/2 inch of bottom of pork, cutting to, but not through, the other side. Open the cut pork like a book.

  3. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Repeat process with each half, being careful to cut to within 1/2 inch of the bottom of the pork but not through. Top butterflied pork with plastic wrap; gently pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin to an even 1/2-inch thickness.

  4. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Remove plastic wrap and discard. Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons salt over pork; spread evenly with pesto.

  5. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Top pesto with prosciutto.

  6. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

  7. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Roll meat back into a tight spiral and, using butcher’s twine, tie roll in 6 places. Season on all sides with pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

  8. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high. Rub roast with olive oil. Sear, starting fat side down and turning roast occasionally.

  9. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Turn until roast is evenly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Place skillet in preheated oven and roast until a meat thermometer inserted in center reads 135°F, 45 to 50 minutes

  10. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    Transfer to a cutting board. Let pork rest, lightly tented with aluminum foil, at least 15 minutes.

  11. Pork Loin Stuffed with Pesto and Prosciutto

    Molly Bolton

    To serve, remove strings and slice as desired.

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