Monday, February 18, 2013

Stuffed Italian Meat Loaf

My dinner plate: Green Beans with Shallots and Walnut Oil (just a half batch), Rosemary-Parsnip Mashed Potatoes (a half batch of this too), and the meat loaf.

Here's the second of five Aidells ground beef recipes I've set out to try. Considering that it's stuffed with a huge pile of cheese it's going to be good I thought it'd be cool to see what happens with the seasonings. Trust me, it works out extremely well.

I didn't get all crazy trying to figure out what to eat with the meat loaf so I went some recipes I've already tried. Click those links under the photos - they're good ones and were perfect with the loaf.

Stuffed Italian Meat Loaf
adapted from Cooking Club of America
click to print

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 c finely chopped onions
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 c fresh bread crumbs
1/2 c milk
1 lb. ground beef (80% lean)
1 lb. bulk mild Italian sausage
2 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
2 eggs, beaten
1 c grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
9 oz. fontina cheese, cut into 1/2-inch thick strips

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c chopped carrot
1/4 c chopped celery
1/4 c minced shallots
1 tsp minced garlic
1 (14.5-oz.) can Italian-seasoned diced tomatoes
1/3 c water
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 350°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot.

Cook onions 4 minutes or until soft.

The extra-virgin olive oil I picked up at Costco is green.

Add 2 tablespoons garlic; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Place in large bowl; cool.

Combine bread crumbs and milk in small bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Squeeze and discard excess milk from bread.

Ha! It looks like one of my oatmeal posts!

Add bread and all remaining meat loaf ingredients except fontina cheese to onions and garlic. Gently combine until well-blended.

Form half of the mixture into 14x5-inch rectangle on large rimmed baking sheet.

Arrange fontina cheese lengthwise down center of meat, leaving 1-inch border on edges.

Cover with remaining meat mixture, making sure edges are well-sealed. Plump up loaf with your hands.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°F. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium saucepan over medium heat until hot.

Cook carrot, celery, shallots and 1 teaspoon garlic, covered, 6 to 10 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes and water; reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Stir in 1 teaspoon rosemary and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook 5 minutes.

Puree in blender or food processor, adding additional water if too thick.

Serve warm over meat loaf.

6 servings

This meat loaf is freaking incredible!  I could not stop eating it. The flavors are layered, so you notice them almost individually and combined, well, just miraculous. Tasting this, it is as though I have never experienced a meat loaf with both beef and pork, but that isn't true, having had Meatloaf Bolognese. And funny, this time the Italian sausage is a must have! Both Italian-style meat loaves, this stuffed loaf blows that Bolognese loaf, either take, out of the water.

The ingredients are just fantastic, oozing cheese offering a definite hearty, savory, and indulgent factor while the spinach and rosemary give the dish an appeal of freshness. The sauce turned out fairly thin and provided even more of a freshness, even though the tomatoes were from a can. As I am not a huge fan of sauces, the majority of the sauce was not consumed with the leftover meat loaf, but what I did eat was exceptional when poured over cold meat loaf slices and the meat and sauce were reheated in the oven (at 350°F). Baking the sauce on the meat loaf helped keep the meat loaf moist while the sauce was reduced - just divine!

Of all the meat loaves I've ever had, this one is by far the best; I find it hard to believe that any other would top it. You've got to try it!

Total: $28.20 or about $4.70 for each of 6 generous servings.