Italian Roast Pork Sandwich: Slow Cooked Pork & Rabe

italian roast pork sandwich recipe Competition -pork and rabe 3-2 (1)

If you’re a fan of broccoli rabe and Italian porchetta, you’re in luck! You are going to love this delicious slow cooked pork & rabe sandwich.

“What’s your favorite sandwich?”

Is something that every single Mortadella Head employee is asked, time and time again, by curious customers.

And while every employee has their favorites, mine is, without a doubt, the Pork and Rabe.

Here’s the thing.

Everyone loves Italian porchetta.

The spices always come together in such a beautiful way, so much so that it’s a major crowd favorite in the Italian American community.

But have you ever tried pulled Italian porchetta?

That’s how we make it here at Mortadella Head.

We take a full pork butt (not pork shoulder), rub it with all sorts of delicious spices and herbs, cook it low and slow in the oven to allow all of the spices to come together, pull it apart at the end, and let all of the pork pieces sit in the delicious juices.

If this is making your mouth water, I hear you—I simply drool at the smell of it.

But that’s not all we do.

We take our beautiful slow roasted porchetta, and pile it into a sandwich with garlicky broccoli rabe and sharp provolone cheese.

In my opinion, having the slow roasted pork in a sandwich like this is one of the best ways to enjoy it.

Pulled porchetta is oftentimes juicier than thin slices of a traditional pork roast, and the flavors meddle beautifully with the bitterness of the broccoli rabe.

And who isn’t a fan of Italian style broccoli rabe?!

It’s one of the most popular foods in our kitchen, we make multiple batches daily.

All you need is a little olive oil, a whole bunch of fresh garlic, some seasonings, and grated Romano cheese, and you’ll have the best vegetable you’ve ever tasted.

Hungry yet?

Trust me, once all of these delicious ingredients are together in a sandwich, topped with tons of freshly shaved sharp and melty provolone cheese, you’ll understand how truly delectable this Italian pulled pork sandwich is.

And the best part?

Other than a few hours of cooking time, this is a super easy recipe that keeps exceptionally well, so you can have plenty of Italian roast pork sandwiches to go around the next day you feel like making them.

​Here’s how we do it!


Q: Can I make this in the slow cooker or instant pot?

A: Absolutely! Prepare the pork butt as you normally would, and set your cooker to low for 8-10 hours, or until the meat easily pulls apart with a fork. The key here is to let the pork cook at a really low temperature for a long time to maximize flavors.

Q: How much pulled pork should I serve per person?

A: A general rule of thumb to go by is to estimate about a ½ pound of pulled pork per person.

Q: How should I store the leftovers?

A: One thing about this recipe is that it will most likely yield you leftovers. Store anything you have leftover in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Q: Can I substitute pork tenderloin?

A: If you do, I recommend making it in your instant pot, and making sure it’s still within the 2-5 lb range. Though it won’t taste as delicious as it would if using a pork butt, I bet it’ll still taste great.

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What To Serve With These Sandwiches:

Drink: I’m not sure about you, but to me, a proper Italian sandwich like this should always be enjoyed with an ice cold diet coke.

Appetizer: This recipe calls for a nice, light appetizer. Here’s an easy caprese salad for you to try!

Dessert: I’ve been loving this easy chocolate covered strawberry recipe!

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italian roast pork sandwich recipe Competition -pork and rabe 3-2 (1)

Italian Roast Pork Sandwich: Slow Cooked Pork & Rabe

  • Author: Gianna Ferrini


  • 1 large pork butt: 2-5 lbs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 23 bunches broccoli rabe, cut into 1 inch long pieces
  • ½ cup grated Romano cheese
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
  • 3 tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp peperoncino, or red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp dried rosemary, chopped
  • 4 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 package sub rolls
  • ¼ lb sharp provolone cheese
  • 1 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1 cup water


Dry Rub Instructions:

  1. Place the fennel seeds, garlic powder, 3 tbsp pepper flakes, rosemary, 3 tbsp black pepper, and 9 tbsp kosher salt in a large portion-bag and shake until thoroughly mixed.

Pulled Porchetta Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250°
  2. Place pork butt in a deep roasting pan or large dutch oven. 
  3. Completely coat with olive oil, saving some for the broccoli rabe.
  4. Completely cover the pork butt with spice rub over the top of the meat.
  5. Fill the pan 1 inch high with ½ water and ½ chicken stock.
  6. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, place in the preheated oven and cook for 4 hours.
  7. Remove pork from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes.
  8. Once the pork butt is cool enough to touch (just warmer than room temperature), remove any excess fat from the exterior and discard.
  9. Using hands and 2 forks, begin to shred pork. It may take a bit to shred the whole thing
  10. Allow shredded pork to sit in the pan to absorb cooking liquid and juices.

Sandwich Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Massage the broccoli rabe with olive oil, the remaining salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, Romano cheese, and garlic. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.
  3. Lay out the rabe on a large baking sheet, baking for about 10-12 minutes or until the rabe is soft and dark green.
  4. Combine the rabe and porchetta in a large sub roll, topping it with some shaved sharp provolone cheese.

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