Philadelphia-Style Roast Pork & Rabe Sandwich
A sandwich with meat, cheese, and a real vegetable inside? I should know about this.
That’s what I thought when, in researching a piece on Philly Cheesesteaks, I got extraordinarily distracted by the discovery of the steak hero’s porky brother, the Roast Pork Sandwich. While most sandwiches claim a couple tomato slices or some lettuce as all their vegetables, this sandwich has a heap of sautéed broccoli rabe inside with the pork and the cheese. That makes it, in my book, a complete meal, and therefore a dish I should know about.
Even better, both the pork and rabe can be seasoned and cooked in advance, making this satisfying sub accessible on a weeknight if you do some cooking over the weekend.
Normally, the cheese melted on top the pork and rabe is aged provolone. But here I use Roth Cheese’s nutty alpine-style melting cheese, which really rounds out the sandwich.
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- a lot of black pepper
- Pinch dried thyme
- One 1½ pound pork loin roast
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
- Olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- Big pinch red pepper flakes
- 4 fresh soft Italian heroes or rolls, cut partway open
- 7 ounces aged alpine-style cheese like Roth Grand Cru Original, grated
- Marinate the roast by combining the garlic, oil, salt, red pepper, black pepper, rosemary, and thyme in a food processor and pulse to combine. Rub this onto the pork roast, set it on a parchment-lined baking pan, and leave at room temperature for 45 minutes.
- When the pork has been at room temp for a while, preheat the oven to 425° F. Roast the pork loin, fat side-up, for 25 minutes. Lower the heat to 300°F and allow the pork to continue to cook until the center reaches 140°F, 20 to 30 minutes. If you have a thermometer, check often to be sure you don't overcook. Let the pork rest for a few minutes, then slice it as thinly as possible and throw the slices back in the roasting pan. Toss them with the juices. You can store the pork like this or make sandwiches right away.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. When the water boils, add a big pinch of salt and the broccoli rabe. Cook for 2 minutes, then drain. Pour a layer of olive oil into a large pan, and warm over high heat. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes, let sizzle for a moment, then throw in the rabe. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, to let the rabe pick up the flavors. Remove from the heat and season with salt and some lemon juice. When cool enough to handle, chop the rabe into bite-sized pieces.
- Preheat the oven back to about 400°F. In a small pan, overlap slices of pork about the same size as your roll. Pile a big scoop of rabe on top, then a quarter of the cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and the pork is warm. Use a spatula to lift onto a the bottom half of the roll, spooning any extra juices from the pan onto the roll too. Serve warm.