Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meatloaf: Italian Style

I’ve never really thought about it before, and I’m not sure I would mention it to just anyone, but I have a meatloaf story.  I know what you’re thinking, “Doesn’t everyone have a meatloaf story?”  Yeah, right!

I do have a meatloaf story, and surprisingly, so did my mom.  In fact, it is a kind of family tradition to have a meatloaf story. I never like meatloaf growing up.  I think it had something to do with the ketchup laden loaf my mom served.  My mom loved meatloaf.  She especially liked having a meatloaf sandwich for lunch with the leftovers.  My mom’s meatloaf story starts with her taking the leftover meatloaf out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature.  Then, leaving to take my sister to preschool, and coming back in time to see our calico kitty jump off the kitchen counter licking her chops.  My mom rushed over to see the foil covering meatloaf pan lifted at one corner, and the meat loaf gone.  Meatloaf denied!

So, after a lifetime of disliking meatloaf, my story, inexplicably, is one of meatloaf enjoyed.  I had given birth to my son that morning, and the hospital had fed me a lunch of soup and a hamburger, which I polished off.  Visitors had come and gone, and Les had taken our daughter to stay with my parents, so I was alone with my son in my hospital room.  It felt like forever before dinner arrived, and to my dismay, dinner was meatloaf.  But, this meatloaf didn’t look anything like the meatloaves of my past.  It didn’t have the gloppy ketchup glaze.  It was served with mashed potatoes and gravy, and I ate every bite.  By the time Les came back, my plate was practically licked clean.  He looked at me quizzically, and asked what I’d had for dinner.  I replied, “The best meatloaf ever!”   He said, tongue-in-check “I’ve heard hospitals are world renowned for their meatloaves.”   Maybe I wasn’t the best judge of what was epicurean at that moment, but I was ready to put aside my distain for meatloaf.

It only took me ten years, and one Fine Cooking Magazine to try my own recipe for meatloaf.  Have you seen the cover of Fine Cooking this month?  The meatloaves look amazing.  While Les and my daughter loved this Italian style meatloaf, my son didn’t like it.  He said he didn’t like the texture (This could be the beginning of his own meatloaf story).  I loved this meatloaf.  It didn’t quite reach the pinnacle of my hospital meatloaf; I’m not sure any meatloaf can compete, but this one was close.  The flavors were bright and the texture was moist.  I loved it, and I can’t wait to try one of the other combinations.

Meatloaf: Italian Style
Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine
Printable Recipe
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 leeks white and light green parts, chopped (1 cup)
½ cup dry white wine

4 oz. French bread, cut roughly into 2-inch pieces, crust included
1 cup whole milk

1 ½ pound ground beef
½ pound mild bulk Italian sausage
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Worchester sauce
2 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons honey

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion, garlic and leeks.  Cook the vegetables over medium low heat until softened and just beginning to brown about 6 to 8 minutes.  Add the wine and simmer until almost dry, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and let mixture cool to room temperature.

In a shallow dish, soak the bread in the milk for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the bread is soften.  Lightly squeeze the bread to remove some of the milk.  Finely chop the soaked bread, and add to the vegetables in the bowl.

Preheat the oven to 375°F, and position a rack in the center of the oven.

Add the ground round, Italian sausage and eggs to the bowl with the vegetables.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon zest, Worchester sauce, salt and pepper over the meat.   Using your hands mix the ingredients gently until combined.

Line the bottom of a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper, and form the meatloaf mixture into a 10 X4 inch block.  Brush the honey over the top of the meatloaf.  Cook the meatloaf until the inside reaches 160°F, about 40 to 50 minutes.  Let the meatloaf rest for 10 minutes, and then slice into ½ inch thick slices and serve.


  1. Hey -
    OK, you've convinced me that I should try making one of the FC meatloaves. Maybe if I keep trying, the boys will like it sooner or later! (one can only hope) -Sandy

  2. Sounds good. Anything with sausage in it is a home run in my house. You should take a look at the Carlucci Brothers meatloaf....minus the ketchup on top. You serve it with brown mushroom gravy.....oh, it's good.

  3. Hi Sandy, You will have to let me know if the boys like the meatloaf you try! Janice

    Hi Nutsy, Thanks for the meatloaf tip! Meatloaf with gravy might just top the hospital meatloaf. Janice



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