adapted from Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray’s Italian Country Cookbook.
4-5 lbs. boned loin of pork, rind and most of the fat removed*
Sea or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbls. olive oil
About 6 c. whole milk
4 Tbls. butter, unsalted
5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1 sm. handful fresh sage leaves (optional)
Zest from 2 lemons, in thick strips
Generously season pork on all sides with salt and pepper.
Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan that is just large enough to hold the pork over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, turning only as necessary. Transfer pork to a plate; carefully pour off and discard the fat in the pan.
In a small pot over medium heat, warm milk. Do not boil.
Return the pork’s pan to medium heat, add butter and heat until melted. When foam subsides, add garlic and, if using, the sage and cook just until garlic is softened but not browned. Return pork to pan and add enough hot milk to submerge pork by at least three-quarters. Increase heat to medium-high and bring milk to boil. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low, add lemon zest, cover partially and simmer gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until internal temperature of the pork is 155 degrees. Note: Resist the temptation to disturb meat while cooking. The milk will curdle and form brown nuggets; this is good.
Spoon cooking sauce over top of pork and serve with crusty Italian bread or rice.
*packaged tenderloins work very well.