Nothing tricky about this pork and grilled cheese sandwich; just simple and incredibly delicious Italian ingredients.  Porchetta and smoked scamorza on golden crusty ciabatta bread, stuffed with caramelized Vidalia onions.

And as the perfect chaser to each and every bite, pickled pepperoncini.

Grilled Porchetta and Smoked Scamorza Cheese Sandwich |

So let’s be frank with each other.  This isn’t just any old cast iron grilled cheese sammie.

This is an Italian porchetta sandwich.   Filled with loads of fatty porkitude, sweet caramelized onions and dripping with the delicate smoky flavor of a melty, gooey handcrafted cheese.

Let that sink in for a moment.

And to top it all off, spicy hot pickled pepperoncini, an easy no-brainer upgrade for todays sandwich.  The acidity and heat of those addictive little peppers works perfectly with all that porky goodness.  Scamorza, often found pan-seared in antipasti is sometimes drizzled with red wine vinegar so all the players in this grilled sandwich really get along.

Grilled Porchetta and Smoked Scamorza Cheese Sandwich |

Meet My Mistress, Porchetta

I have more feelings about porchetta than you might consider normal.  I know it.  My histrionics pretty much extend to many things made in Italy, but it’s the Italian seasoned and cured porky meats where I really go hog wild.

Do you see what I did there?

Porchetta, in all of it’s wonderful variations, is Italian rolled pork roast stuffed with layers of pork fat and an aromatic concoction of white wine, herbs and spices – garlic, toasted fennel seeds, basil, rosemary; you get the picture.

All the delicious greatness that you’d love to see packed and rolled into a succulent pork roast.

Grilled Porchetta and Smoked Scamorza Cheese Sandwich |

Needless to say, each region of Italy, and indeed each Italian butcher, has its own favored traditions for porchetta.  Stuffed vs. not stuffed.  Wrapped in pork skin vs. unwrapped.  Pork belly vs pork loin (or both!  Yum!)

Sliced Porchetta |

Team Smoked Scamorza

Smoked scamorza (yes, a super-fun affiliate link) is a firm-textured, creamy, slightly salty cheese that’s been hung from strings over burning hay to absorb a delicious smokey flavor.  Cream colored on the inside and caramel colored on the outside, scamorza is a stretched cow’s milk cheese, similar to mozzarella or provolone, from the southern Italian regions of Apulia and Calabria.

Apparently, there are also varieties of scamorza made with sheep’s milk from Bari, which I have yet to find.  This causes us great excitement so, yup, I feel another project coming on.  Steady, sir, steady…

Unsmoked or smoked scamorza, because of it’s firm texture, can be pan-seared like Greek saganaki – developing a beautiful outer crust.  It also melts nicely into creamy, gooey ribbons and works perfectly on Italian grilled sandwiches or as an antipasti.

If you think of stretched Italian cheeses, known as pasta filata, as being on a spectrum of cheeses, you’d have the cream filled and very delicious burrata on one end, and the firm and slightly chewy scamorza toward the other end.

Grilled Porchetta and Smoked Scamorza Cheese Sandwich |
Grilled Porchetta and Smoked Scamorza Cheese Sandwich
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 16 ounces porchetta, sliced
  • 8 ounces smoked scamorza cheese, super-fun affiliate link
  • 8 slices ciabatta bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 pepperoncini, optional
Caramelized Onions
  • 1 large Vidalia onion
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dry Marsala wine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch of kosher salt
  1. Caramelize onions: Slice onion into ¼-inch disks. Preheat large skillet over medium-low heat. Add olive oil, heat until shimmering but not smoking, and add onions along with a pinch of salt.
  2. Cook onions slowly for 30 minutes until very soft and brown taking care not to scorch or let them dry out. If they do start to dry out, add a tablespoon of water.
  3. With a few minutes remaining and the onions are nicely browned, add Marsala wine to deglaze pan.
  4. Caramelized Onions with Dry Marsala Wine |
  5. Make roux: Next, as a grilled sandwich spread that will combine with our melted scamorza we will make a blond roux.
  6. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter (clarified, if possible, but not necessary) over medium-low heat.
  7. Add to that 2 tablespoons of flour and whisk continuously. Fat and flour combined over heat form a paste that will improve the overall consistency and velvety texture of the melted cheese. A blond roux will only take 3 minutes to cook.
  8. Add whole milk, cayenne pepper and continue to whisk. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
  9. Once thoroughly combined, remove from heat. Our roux will have a smooth and creamy, spreadable texture.
  10. Assemble sandwiches for grilling: Preheat large cast iron pan or grill over medium heat.
  11. Lightly butter one side of the ciabatta bread and lay butter side down. Spread a tablespoon of the cooked roux mixture over the upward-facing ciabatta slice. Arrange slices of porchetta and scamorza. Top with caramelized onions.
  12. Spread another tablespoon of roux on to a second slice of ciabatta and lay that roux side down on the sandwich. Next, lightly butter the topmost ciabatta bread slice.
  13. Repeat this for each sandwich.
  14. Once cast iron pan or grill is hot, grill each sandwich 4 minutes per side, or until bread is golden brown and cheese has begun to melt.
  15. Grilled Porchetta Sandwiches |
  16. Serve with whole pepperoncini. There's a little bit of magic in those hot peppers, and their acidity goes super nicely with porchetta and scamorza.
Substitute smoked provolone if you're unable to find scamorza.

If you’re as a much of a devotee to Italian cheeses as we are, check out our Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad.  Yes, please to those little balls of cream filled burrata cheese!

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Basil and Garlic Blossoms |