When I think of meatloaf, I don’t find myself recalling fond memories of childhood. My mother did make something she called meatloaf, and as a child I knew no better. Once I tasted meatloaf in it’s true culinary form, I realized that what my mother made was merely a very large meatball, shaped into a loaf, stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto, and covered in gravy (red sauce). All I can remember thinking is “so where’s the spaghetti?”
I can remember, as if it were yesterday, the evening that I was introduced to American style meatloaf. I was 17 years old, and invited to have dinner at my boyfriend’s house. He had experienced my mother’s cooking many times and warned me that his mother did not share the same talent in the kitchen. I couldn’t have disagreed more once I tasted her meatloaf. It was moist and delicious, with onions, bacon and ketchup, a wonderful combination with chopped meat. When she was to become my mother-in-law, this was the first recipe of hers that I added to my collection. We didn’t call it “comfort food” back then, but this is exactly what we mean by that now. My children grew up on this, and still love it to this day. I have made a few slight changes of my own over the years, but basically this is the recipe I fell in love with over 40 years ago!
I’m going to share both these recipes for meatloaf with you, and you can decide which you prefer.
RECIPE for Eileen’s Meatloaf:
2 lbs chopped meat, can be all beef or a combination of pork, veal and beef
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup worcester sauce
1/3 cup ketchup, plus additional ketchup for the top of loaf
1/3 cup milk
1 cup breadcrumbs…add more if necessary
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1. Saute chopped onion in the worcester sauce until they soften a bit. Let cool.
2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, except for the bacon.
3. Once it is mixed well, form into the shape of a loaf in a 9 x 13 baking pan. I don’t use a loaf pan, as I like the grease to drain away from the meat. I recently purchased a meatloaf pan that has a special draining system, but I have not tried it yet, so I can’t recommend it.
4. Cover the top of the loaf with ketchup, and then with the bacon slices, crosswise.
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Let settle a bit before slicing.
RECIPE for Italian Style Meatloaf:
2 lbs. of chopped meat, a combination of beef, veal and pork
3 eggs, slightly beaten
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup pecorino romano grated cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/8 to 1/4 pound prociutto
1 mozzarella, about 8 ounces
1/4 pound prosciutto or pancetta
1 10 ounce can of tomato sauce….also can use any leftover red sauce.
1. Combine all ingredients, except the mozzarella, prosciutto and tomato sauce, in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Put meat mixture in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan, creating a long hole in the middle, where the mozzarella and prosciutto will be placed.
3. Wrap the prosciutto or pancetta around the mozzarella and place in the hole and cover it with the meat mixture. Basically you are stuffing the meatloaf with the mozzarella and prosciutto.
4. Pour the tomato sauce on top of the meat.
5. Bake for one hour in a 350 degree oven.