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Roast Pork Tenderloin with Juniper Berries

Arrosto di Lonza di Maiale al Ginepro

SERVES 8

The faint scent of juniper berries and aromatic roasting pork tenderloin is a sign in my kitchen that fall cooking has begun. This dish tastes best if you can let the meat marinate overnight, but this is not essential. Pork tenderloins are usually sold two to a package and weigh about one and a quarter pounds each.

Ingredients

1/4 pound pancetta, thinly sliced

1 large shallot, peeled

2 pork tenderloins (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon juniper berries, crushed

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 teaspoons Filippo Berio olive oil

Directions

Place the pancetta and shallot in a food processor and pulse to a paste. Or mince together with a sharp knife until a fine paste is obtained. Season with salt and pepper.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels. With a sharp knife, make ½-inch-long and ½-inch-deep slits along the length of each tenderloin on both sides. Insert the pancetta mixture into the slits, packing it in well. Season the tenderloins with salt and coarse pepper. Set aside.

In a dish large enough to hold the tenderloins in one layer, mix together the onion, bay leaves, juniper berries, wine, and olive oil. Add the tenderloins and turn them once or twice in the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight, basting occasionally with the marinade.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Drain the tenderloins, reserving the marinade. Place the tenderloins in a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting from time to time with the reserved marinade.

Remove the tenderloins to a cutting board, reserving the pan juices, and let rest for about 10 minutes. Then cut into thin slices, place on a platter, and pour the pan juices over the top.

This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1995.

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