Italian pizzaiola meatloaf

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PRESENTATION

Recipe by
Francesca Meucci

Meatloaf is one of those meals that immediately makes you think of home cooking: rich, tasty, cozy, it's perfect to serve for a family dinner or Sunday lunch. Moreover, it is a very versatile recipe... in addition to the classic meatloaf or stuffed meatloaf, if you love the flavors and aromas of Mediterranean cuisine, you can try the Italian pizzaiola meatloaf: prepared with minced beef and pork, this meatloaf is soft and juicy thanks to the fact that it is cooked in a pot together with a tomato and basil sauce. At the end of cooking, the Italian pizzaiola meatloaf is covered with slices of mozzarella cheese which becomes melted and stringy in a few minutes... a simple and tasty recipe that recalls the colors of the Italian flag.

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INGREDIENTS

For the meatloaf
Beef 2 cups (300 g) - minced
Pork 1 cup (150 g) - minced
Sandwich bread 1 ½ slice (50 g) - crustless
Eggs 1
Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese ½ cup (50 g) - grated
Garlic 1 clove
Milk 4 tbsp (60 ml)
Salt ⅓ tsp
Black pepper 1 pinch
Nutmeg 1 pinch - grated
Breadcrumbs 3 tbsp
For cooking
Tomatoes 2 cups (450 g) - fresh or canned, chopped
Garlic 1 clove
Mozzarella cheese 3.5 oz (100 g) - sliced
Extra virgin olive oil 4 tbsp
Basil 4 leaves
Salt 1 pinch
Preparation

How to prepare Italian pizzaiola meatloaf

To prepare the Italian pizzaiola meatloaf, start by soaking the bread in the milk for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, place the minced meat (beef and pork) and season with 1/3 teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg. Peel a clove of garlic, cut it in half and remove the central part, then chop it very finely or crush it with a garlic press and add it to the meat.

Mix with your hands for about a minute, then add the bread - after squeezing it to remove the excess milk - the grated Parmesan cheese and the shelled egg. Mix again, until you get a homogeneous and rather firm mixture. With your hands give it an elongated shape.

Pour about 3 tbsp of breadcrumbs on aluminum foil and place the meatloaf on top; with the help of aluminum foil, roll it in the breadcrumbs to cover it on all sides.

In a large pan, fry the whole and peeled garlic in the oil. Then place the meatloaf in the pan and let it brown over low heat for 5-6 minutes, turning it on all sides.

When it has browned, add the chopped tomatoes (you can use canned tomatoes or fresh tomato pulp), a pinch of salt, 4 basil leaves and half a cup of hot water. Cover with a lid and cook the meatloaf for 40 minutes over low heat, turning it a couple of times during cooking.

Meanwhile, cut the mozzarella into slices.

After 40 minutes, remove the lid and, if necessary, thicken the tomato sauce for a couple of minutes with the pan uncovered. Remove the garlic clove, then place the mozzarella slices on the meatloaf and cover the pan with the lid. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, until the mozzarella starts to melt, then turn off the heat.

Serve the Italian pizzaiola meatloaf immediately, if you like accompanied by an appetizing side dish such as roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes.

How to store

You can store the leftover pizzaiola meatloaf in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. Just before serving, you can heat it briefly in the microwave or in the oven.

If you want, you can prepare the meatloaf in advance and freeze it raw: it will keep for 2 months, wrapped in aluminum foil. Before cooking it, it’s advisable to let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Advice

If you prefer to cook the meatloaf in the oven, you can proceed as follows: place the meatloaf on a baking tray lined with baking paper and drizzle it with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Bake at 356°F (180°C) for 40 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the tomato sauce: in a pan, fry a clove of garlic in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, then add the chopped tomatoes and basil and cook for 15 minutes. When the meatloaf is cooked, pour the tomato sauce over it, garnish with the slices of mozzarella and put it back in the oven for 3-4 minutes, until the mozzarella melts.