I never had meatloaf growing up – I am guessing that my mother had a bad meatloaf experience as a child of the 1950’s with a mom who didn’t cook very well. I remember friends having meatloaf sandwiches for lunch but never felt that I was missing much. Not long after we were married I came across this recipe and decided to give it a try and am so glad I did. Think of it as a rather large really yummy meatball. The meat is very moist and the chunky spicy tomato sauce goes perfectly with it.
I had always served it with mashed potatoes – one of the few Italian recipes that Ed would let me get away with pairing with potatoes. This time I served it to our friends, Carolyn and Jonathan R, along side fresh ricotta gnocchi (both cheese and potato would work) which we all agreed was a wining combination. I got gnocchi from Vera Pasta, a local fresh pasta company, who has a stand at the Malvern Farmers Market. I recommend calling ahead to make sure they have it.
Everyone seems to have a favorite meatloaf – I’m glad I was able to find mine. I’d love to hear about your favorite meatloaf recipe or experience.
|Italian Meatloaf with Spicy Tomato Sauce|| || |
- 4 slices Italian bread without crust, broken into rough pieces and soaked in 1 cup milk (skim is fine)
- 2 pounds ground beef (80%/20%)
- ¼ pound sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup loosely packed chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- 1 cup fine plain or Italian-seasoned bread crumbs (to coat the meatloaf)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4-14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (mixed into sauce)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Drain the bread and squeeze it with your hands into a soft pulp.
- In a large bowl combine the bread, beef, prosciutto, eggs, parsley and parmigiano-reggiano, and season with salt and just a bit of black pepper.
- Mix well with your hands or with a large spoon until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Shape the mixture into a large, rectangular loaf.
- Spread breadcrumbs on a large piece of aluminum foil and roll the meatloaf in the bread crumbs to coat all sides.
- Coat a large baking dish with olive oil.
- Place meatloaf in dish and brush some oil on top.
- Bake until golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes.
- While the meatloaf is in the oven, heat oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
- Add garlic and stir until it begins to color, less than 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes and season with salt and red pepper. Cook 10-12 minutes, stirring a few times. Add parsley and stir.
- After meatloaf has cooked for 50 to 60 minutes, carefully tilt the baking dish and discard about three-quarters of the fat and watery juices that have accumulated. Depending on the fat content of the meat, you may not have much juice – if that’s the case, don’t pour any of the juices off.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaf and bakes 20 minutes longer. It's okay if it's still a little pink inside.
- Cool the meatloaf 5 minutes before slicing.
- Serve topped with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce and sprinkled with fresh parsley.
* Serving suggestion: Both gnocchi and mashed potatoes soak up the tomato sauce quite nicely.