Tuscan Herb Salt:
2. Arrange the pancetta slices, slightly overlapping each other, down the length of the roast. Arrange the 2 remaining rosemary sprigs on top. Tie the roast at 1-inch intervals with cotton string to give it a neat shape. Transfer to a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (up to 24 hours). Bring to room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
3. Preheat the over to 450°F.
4. Place the rack of rib bones curved-side down in a shallow roasting pan. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and rub with the olive oil. Place the roast on the rack and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the roast over, and baste with a few tablespoons of the wine. Return the roast to the oven and reduce the temperature to 350°F. Cook for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours longer, turning the roast and basting it with wine every 20 minutes; reserve 1/2 cup of wine for the sauce. The roast is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 145°F.
5. Transfer the roast to a platter and pour the pan juices into a measuring cup. If the meat on the rack of bones is still pink and you wish to serve the ribs, place on a baking sheet and return to the oven for about 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, place the roasting pan over two burners over moderate heat; when it starts to sizzle, add the reserved 1/2 cup wine and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up the drippings from the bottom of the pan. Add to the pan juices in the measuring cup; let the fat rise to the surface, about 5 minutes. Skim off the fat and season the sauce with salt and pepper.
7. Remove the strings and carve the roast into thin slices. If serving the ribs, remove the rack from the pan and cut through the ribs. Arrange the meat and ribs on a platter and serve the pan juices on the side.
8. You can wrap and tie the pork loin up to 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for 1 hour before roasting.
Tuscan Herb Salt
Makes about 1/4 cup
In Tuscany, this vibrantly flavored herb salt is used to season all kinds of roasts, from pork to guinea hen. While it is best fresh, you can also let it dry out in an uncovered container—the salt will preserve the herbs' and garlic's clear flavor—to use as a versatile seasoning. I love to toss some with sautéed vegetables like green beans or potatoes. You can also vary the combination of herbs, using thyme or savory in the same way. You will need about 1/4 cup herb leaves in all.
On a cutting board, mince the garlic with the salt. Place the herbs in a mound and coarsely chop them. Add the garlic salt and chop them together to make a coarse rub. Use the salt right away, or let it dry, uncovered, in a bowl for a few days.
The dried salt rub can be stored indefinitely in a clean dry jar.
copyright © 2002 Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
Harold McGee, the author of Keys to Good Cooking, is an expert on the chemistry behind food and cooking. McGee recently made his first trip to China, where he learned more about rice wine.