100 Favorite Dishes: Porchetta from Parisi
Suffice it to say that I eat out more than the general population, unless, of course, the general population can catalog more than 450 restaurant meals in a year -- which is about the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I stomached in 2012. Pathetic, isn't it? But all those food dates are worth the gluttony, because it allows us to tell you where you should eat, a little favor that we started in late 2009, when we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- 100, to be exact. Now we're back with round three, counting down (in no particular order) 100 more of our favorite dishes in Denver (and Boulder). If there's something particular that you think we need to try, reveal it in the comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.
No. 99: Porchetta from Parisi
If you go to certain regions of central Italy, you'll discover that porchetta -- spit-roasted pig with a crisped, fatty skin -- is pimped on just about every street corner. Sold from trucks and carts, it's hardly a novelty in that part of the world, despite the laborious task of stuffing the beast with its own innards, aromatic spices and herbs and sliding it into a wood-fired oven for hours of slow cooking.
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At Parisi, which has always boasted a board of magnificent pastas that beautifully mimic owner Simone Parisi's homeland, porchetta now makes an appearance on the menu -- in a panino and on its own, where the perfumed porcine is stuffed with garlic, thyme, fennel, piney rosemary and liberally massaged with fistfuls of salt and pepper. Parisi slow-roasts the spiraled loin, wrapped in pork belly, in a wood-burning oven crackling with the embers of oak, and the result is a succulent slab of meaty, sublimely seasoned hog that's paired with a heap of braised kale and cannellini beans aromatic with garlic.
It's one of the loveliest swine-centric dishes I've had in a long, long time -- and I can't wait to go back for seconds.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below: