Roast Pork Loin is not the Bar Rafaeli of the food world. The colors photograph pretty funky, and it looks bad in a bikini. But this Barefoot Contessa recipe is still a winner. It won’t be ready in 30 minutes, but in exchange you get that amazing Sunday-lunch smell for an hour and a half – and enough meat and veggies to cover lunch and/or dinner for several days.

The preparation is really simple. Just combine garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and Dijon mustard, and spread the mixture onto your pork loin. While it’s resting, preheat the oven and chop your vegetables: carrots, potatoes and onions. The recipe calls for fennel, but if you can’t find it, feel free to double-up on carrots, onions, potatoes or another favorite.

This is a great meal to make for friends, since the meat and vegetables cook at the same time, leaving you almost TWO HOURS to straighten the house, grab a shower and remember that your underwear is hanging off the ceiling fan. Or, make it and enjoy the leftovers yourself. Jeff recommends the roast pork loin sandwich. I’m partial to a little stir-fry.

Roast Pork Loin with Root Vegetables

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Parties!”

Serves 6

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied
  • 3 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
  • 8 carrots, peeled, and thickly sliced diagonally
  • 10 small potatoes (red or white-skinned), cut in quarters
  • 2 yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted*
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. With a food processor fitted with a steel blade, grind together the garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and thyme leaves. Add the mustard. Spread the mixture over the loin of pork and allow it to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the fennel bulbs in thick wedges, cutting through the core. Toss the fennel, carrots, potatoes, and onions in a bowl with the olive oil, melted butter, salt, and pepper to taste. Place the vegetables in a large roasting pan and cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the pork loin to the pan and continue to cook for another 1 1/2 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the pork reads 160 to 170 degrees F. Remove the meat from the pan and return the vegetables to the oven to keep cooking.
  5. Cover the meat with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Remove the strings from the meat and slice it thickly. Arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve warm.

*Gluten-Free Tip: Make sure your butter is gluten-free.