Back on the Roast Pork Italiano Trail

After a couple weeks without one, I was starting to feel just a touch of pressure to get back to my survey of the Philly region’s Roast Pork Italiano sandwiches. South Philadelphia is likely where the sandwich was created and is still home to more of them than any other part of the city or suburbs. So I headed to one of its best Italian delis Tuesday for lunch.

Pastificio, which sits in a small shopping center in deep South Philly – only blocks from the stadium and arena complex where the city’s pro sports teams play – isn’t new to me. I’ve been there a few times over the years for hoagies and a meatball sandwich. But I hadn’t tried their roast pork before this week. 

Although their sign indicates that it’s a pasta company, it has the look, feel and menu of an Italian deli and gourmet shop.  

The menu features a nice array of hoagies in addition to chicken cutlet and a few other hot sandwiches – but no cheesesteaks. It also doesn’t include anything called a Roast Pork Italiano. But they have hot roast pork sandwiches and will add aged sharp provolone and a choice of broccoli rabe or spinach for an extra charge. I asked for spinach in addition to the aged cheese.

The most memorable sandwich I had eaten from my previous visits to Pastificio was one of their self-named hoagies, which feature Sopressata, Capicola and aged sharp Provolone. Here is a photo of what was unquestionably one of the best Italian hoagies I’ve had the pleasure of eating:

This is a hoagie from Pastificio that I had a couple years ago – before starting this blog.
My roast pork sandwich was the medium – or standard – size.

There is no seating at Pastificio and the weather was too nasty to think about eating outside, so I adjourned to the driver’s seat of my car to have lunch after waiting only a few minutes for my order. Upon opening the wrapper, I found a Roast Pork Italiano in its  most classic form; with house-roasted thinly sliced pork loin on top of aged sharp Provolone and underneath a layer of steamed or sautéed spinach. 

Hot roast pork sandwich with aged sharp Provolone cheese and spinach – a.k.a. the Roast Pork Italiano.

The pork was extremely moist and very well seasoned. I would guess they either dip or allow it to sit in au jus before placing it on the roll. A small stream of juice almost ran off the wrapping paper onto the car seat, but my reflexes are still in working condition. The meat, cheese and spinach combined to create a great overall flavor profile. 

I didn’t see any bread boxes, so I can’t be sure which bakery provides their seeded rolls, but they had the appearance and texture of those from Sarcone’s Bakery that I’ve waxed poetic about on multiple occasions. It wasn’t too doughy and the crust had enough body to require a vigorous chew. I recall the roll that the above hoagie came on being very crusty. While it’s not possible to maintain that crustiness under the weight of so much moist pork and spinach – parts of the roll were damp from the juice – it still managed to hold up well. There was no spillage or breaking apart while I ate the sandwich.

That was a great lunch. I can already see I’m probably going to have to divide the Roast Pork Italiano sandwiches between those made with thinly sliced pork loin and those that include pulled shoulder meat when I go over my findings at the conclusion of this survey. 

Tuesday was also Pi Day. While it’s observed to celebrate a mathematical constant, it has become a big day for pie eating as well. Any excuse I suppose.

My wife is very good at making pie crust and suggested baking something to celebrate the occasion. We didn’t want a full-sized pie, so she made a couple mini-crusts and filled one with a fresh blueberry topping that she prepared and whipped cream, which was also freshly made. 

She asked what I’d like the other to be and I suggested Indiana Sugar Cream or buttermilk. I grabbed her pie cookbook from a nearby shelf and found a recipe for one called an “Indiana Buttermilk Pie.” That was close enough to fill the bill.

Indiana buttermilk and fresh blueberry pies

They were both excellent, but I especially enjoyed the buttermilk pie. It was so simple, yet delicious.

Published by BZ Maestro

I live outside of Philadelphia and have been food-obsessed for as long as I can remember. After toying with the idea of starting a blog for a fairly long time, the extinction of a food-themed message board that I frequented for years prompted me to finally take action. Thank you for taking the time to check out what I've been up to - and eating. If you've enjoyed what you have read and seen, please consider clicking the "like" button and signing up as a follower.

5 thoughts on “Back on the Roast Pork Italiano Trail

    1. Spinach gives it a different textural feel. I like broccoli rabe when it’s chopped small; but not when I’ve got to chew longish stems, which was an issue on one of the sandwiches I wrote about.


  1. It’s great that you liked them so much, but you could have spelled their name correctly. It’s “Pastificio” with an “i”. I mean, it’s right there in the picture of the sign you posted.


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