INSTEAD of cooking a turkey and all its accompaniments, this Christmas I’m going to cook something completely different.

This sage and lemon pesto rolled roast pork is moist and delicious and as it can be prepped the night before, it really is easy peasy.

I usually serve it with Mostarda di Frutta, candied mustard fruits from Sienna, and it makes a real festive sweet and spicy treat.

Rolled Roast Pork with Sage Pesto Stuffing

Ask the butcher to score the pork for you, tracing deep lines through the rind and fat. Prepare the pork the day before you want to cook it.


(serves 4 -6 people)

2-2.5 kg rolled and boned loin of organic pork, with the rind still on

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Zest and juice of an unwaxed lemon

100ml dry white wine

Sea salt

For the fresh sage pesto

2-3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

2 tablespoons sea salt

4- 5 large handfuls leaves fresh sage

2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Grated rind of an unwaxed lemon

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed


Add the garlic and sea salt into a food processor.

Whizz to start to make a paste.

Add the sage leaves, oil, lemon rind and the crushed peppercorns and whizz everything together to make a textured pesto.

Open out the pork and lay it flat on a work surface.

Rub the pesto all over the inside.

Roll up the pork and, using butcher’s string, tie the roll together.

(Start at one end, tying the string in loops, spaced out about two fingers' width apart. Use a second piece to tie a circle lengthwise across the loops, as if you are tying a parcel).

Rub the outside of the pork with more extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. This will help to crisp the crackling.

Cover with foil and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight.

When ready to cook

Remove the pork an hour before roasting.

Pre-heat a very hot oven, 230C/Gas 8.

Roast the pork for 20 minutes to start to crisp up the crackling.

Now pour over the wine and lemon juice.

Reduce the heat to190C/Gas 5 and roast for a further 25 minutes per 500g.

Baste the pork with the juices a couple of times during the cooking.

Test 15 minutes before the allotted cooking time.

Push a skewer into the middle. The juices must run clear. If they are, remove the pork and leave covered in a warm place to rest before serving. If the juices are still pink roast it for a further 15 minutes.

Skim the fat from the roasting tin and use the juices to make a gravy.