So, I was in California last week. It was beautiful weather, good food and constant berating about how I don't blog enough. I get it! Someone is actually reading. I will update - now.
I've had this one in the works for awhile. Some of you may know that I grew up with hippie vegetarians. This meant that while we ate a lot of tofu and salad and pesto pasta (my brother and sister's favorite food at various times), we never had things like pot roast or meatloaf. The first time I ever ate meatloaf I was 25 years old and I made it myself. It was a classic recipe and I didn't care for it - the flavor of ketchup was too strong and it seemed like a weird flashback from the '50's.
But then! I came across this Italian version of meatloaf from the Gourmet Cookbook (one of my favorites - Ruth Reichl is my idol). It was amazing! It's like a giant meatball with hints of lemon and fresh parsley. It was tricky but I've already made it again since I took these pictures.
Polpettone! From the Gourmet Cookbook
4-6 slices Italian bread, crusts discarded (I used garlic focaccia - it had roasted garlic cloves in it and was amazing)
1 cup whole milk
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground veal (I've also used 2 pounds of turkey instead of red meat. Works great)
2 eggs, beaten
3 oz thin sliced pancetta, chopped
3/4 cup grated parmesan (use the good stuff - if you use the kind in the green Kraft can, I will come to your house and cry)
1/3 cup chopped parsley (flat leaf!)
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup dry wine wine (I've been using "honey moon" from Trader Joe's - it rocks)
So! Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Soak the bread in milk for 10 minutes.
Combine the meat, eggs, pancetta, cheese, parsley, zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Squeeze the bread (one handful at a time) to remove the excess milk - not all of it, just some and chop it, then add it to the meat.
Mix it up! Use your hands until it's combined but try not to overmix it. Make it into a weird football shape.
Heat the oil in a skillet over high heat. Brown the football shaped meat mixture on all sides. You may have to use two spatulas to flip it - this thing is big. Transfer it to a plate. Mine broke into pieces and I cried, then mushed it back together. So the meatloaf is now on a plate and the skillet is full of yummy brown bits and fat and stuff.
Pour the wine in the skillet and bring it to a boil for a minute.
Stir and scrape the pan so that all the brown bits get unstuck to the bottom. Return the meatloaf to the skillet (mine broke again and I cried again. Zack said it would still taste good and that I should calm down. He was right). Bake the meatloaf in the skillet for about 45 minutes.
Transfer the meatloaf to a plate again! It's worth it, I promise. Cover it with foil (loosely) for about 10 minutes.
Pour the pan juices through a fine mesh sieve (this would normally scare me off - but I did it!) into a small bowl. Cut the meatloaf into slices and serve with the pan juices.
I served it with mashed potatoes and roasted fennel and sauteed watercress. I went a little overboard, but it was a really nice meal. You should make it! I messed it up a bunch of times and it turned out great. Plus, the second time I made it, it was much easier.