Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stuffed Meatloaf

I was flipping through Mario Batali's book "Molto Italiano" and found myself quite intrigued by his recipe for a stuffed meatloaf. Stuffed meatloaf is not uncommon in our house - keith makes a really nice one that is stuffed with...well, stuffing! Because of the bread stuffing inside it does tend to be quite dense, but still delicious. This recipe caught my eye because of WHAT is inside the meatloaf, namely carrots, spinach, prosciutto and cheese. Well, doesn't that sound amazing?

It's also quite a fun thing to prepare. There's a lot of work but nothing too difficult. The same pot of boiling water is used to wilt the spinach and cook the carrots. I also served the dish with a fantastic asparagus recipe from the same book, and ended up using the same water to cook that as well. Easy enough.

My favorite part of the recipe (aside from the stuffing components) was that the meatloaf gets rolled & dusted in a mixture of breadcrumbs and flour. Once cooked, this helps form a crunchy exterior that is just fantastic! And no worries if you can't find caciocavallo cheese - I couldn't. I simply got a nice semi-soft cow's cheese (the name escapes me) and it worked just fine. The recipe also suggests you cook the meatloaf on a broiler pan. Alas, I have no broiler pan (don't get me started on broilers...I miss my gas range and the broiler...sigh). Instead I just used a deep baking dish and I laid the meatloaf right on top of the rosemary, which gave a whole other dimension of flavor!!

Stuffed Meatloaf (Polpettona Ripieno) by Mario Batali
1 lb. ground lean pork
1 lb. ground lean beef
2 C plus 3 Tbl. bread crumbs
1 C grated pecorino romano cheese
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Fresh ground black pepper
8 oz. baby spinach leaves, stems removed, washed & spun dry
2 carrots, cut lengthwise into 6 slices each
3 Tbl. all-purpose flour
6 slices prosciutto di parma
6 slices caciocavallo or other semi-soft cheese
2 sprigs rosemary
1 C water
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, 2 C of the bread crumbs, the pecorino, eggs, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix gently but thoroughly with your hands. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot, and add 1 Tbl. salt. Dip the spinach leaves in the water just to wilt them; immediately remove. Add the carrots to the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside as well.

Combine the flour with the remaining 3 Tbl. bread crumbs and heavily dust a wooden board or other work surface with the mixture. Pat the meat mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle about 16 inches by 6 inches on the dusted board. Lay the spinach leaves over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border on the short sides. Lay the carrot slices over the spinach, lengthwise down the rectangle, then layer the prosciutto and caciocavallo over the carrots. Starting from the long side, roll the meat up into a jelly roll, making it as compact as possible; it should be about 16 inches long. Dust the outside with flour.

Place the loaf on a rack in a broiler pan. Put the rosemary under the rack and pour the water into the pan. Pour the olive oil down the length of the loaf. Bake for 1 hour, or until the loaf reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Transfer the loaf to a cutting board. Pour the pan juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice the meat loaf into 1-inch-thick slices and arrange on warmed plates. Drizzle with the sauce, and serve.

1 comment:

  1. This was sooo good. After a week of delicate sauces, my family devoured this. The only thing that went a little wrong was that an hour was too long and I wasn't paying attention to temperature. My bad. Also, my husband requested more "goo" inside. Duly noted. This was really a fun dish to make. And I used Havarti for the soft cow cheese. Obviously not enough. : )