Monday, March 15, 2010

Meatloaf: More Than the Name Implies

Rustic Italian Torta
I'm not much of a meatloaf lover. This dish while in every way IS a loaf of meat, doesn't remind me in any way of the meatloaf that has haunted me since childhood. If you combine great complimentary ingredients that work well together in other recipes, you'll probably be happy with your creation. I use this combination for hamburgers, and for cannelloni filling. So, to have a 'meatloaf' in my repertoire, I put these same tastes together to form a rustic Italian torta. I line the pan with bread to catch and absorb all the wonderful juices--oh so good on the hamburger, and equally good here! This is one recipe that tastes even better than you think it will. The torta is very moist. After enjoying it for a Sunday supper, or a week night meal, the leftovers become great sandwiches, especially if nestled into a nice piece of foccacia.

Rustic Italian Torta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Several half inch slices of rustic Italian bread
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Pinot Grigio
  • 1 cup loosely packed Italian Flat Leaf Parsley leaves
  • 1/4 pound hard salami, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 pound prosciutto, roughly chopped
  • 2 pounds ground veal (I buy veal stew meat and grind it in my food processor)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (from rustic Italian loaf)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesano Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomato slices in oil
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Fresh basil leaves to garnish

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  • Line the outside of a 10 inch spring form pan with foil. Brush the inside bottom with olive oil, and line the inside bottom with bread slices.

Add parsley, salami and prosciutto to food processor and pulse to chop.

Combine breadcrumbs and milk in small bowl and set aside.
Place ground veal in large bowl. Add ground parsley and meat. Top with onion mixture. Then eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and finally parmesan cheese. With a fork, gently toss to combine these ingredients. Do not over-mix, or compact!

Add half the meat mixture to the prepared spring form pan. Top with half the mozzarella cheese and half the sun-dried tomatoes. Top with remaining meat mixture. Bake for one hour.

Top with remaining mozzarella cheese and sun dried tomatoes. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and rest for 10 minutes.

Run a knife around the inside of the pan. Remove sides from pan, leaving the bottom sitting on the foil to catch any stray drippings. With an offset spatula and a large bladed knife (or the largest thin spatula-like things you have), slide torta to serving plate, slice, garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!
Bon Appetito!

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