zaterdag 25 januari 2014

Polpettone - Italian meatloaf

A recipe from my nonna (grandmother) that is simple and cheap, but yet, it will leave you with a completely happy and satisfied feeling.
You can serve this dish hot, after a pasta with tomatosauce, but it is also very tasty when served cold with bread and / or a salad.

I confess that I adjusted the form after a great suggestion from my virtual friend Silvestro Silvestori. He owns a cooking school in Lecce in the south of Italy and is not only a gifted cook, but also a skilled photographer. If you want to learn more: The Awaiting Table.


350 gr. of beef and 150 gr. pork OR:
500 gr. of mince meat, half beef, half pork

50 ml. milk
1 egg
bread-crumbs (the amount depends on the substance of the meat)
salt, pepper
fresh sage, chopped
1 tomato, sliced
slices of slightly spicy cheese, e.g. Provolone, smoked mozzarella but parmiggiano will do too
A rectangular baking tin, carefully greased with olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Use the food processor tho prepare mince meat from the beef and the pork. Mix well. Or, just use the ready mince meat.
Mix the mince meat with the egg, the milk, salt and pepper and then add the bread-crumbs until the meat feels firm but not dry.

Normally, I used to cut the tomato into small pieces and grate the cheese and add that too, but this is the point where my friend Silvestro´s influence starts.

Gently press the meat until it is equally flat, and will fit into the tin you will use.
Put the tomato slices and the cheese on top of the meat and season it with the sage.

Carefully fold it together and put it in the baking form. Bake it for about 45 minutes. Check it from time to time so that it won´t get too dark. Turn the tin and be careful, for it contains hot juices. Leave it for some five minutes, covered with baking paper, before serving.

Vegetarian variations:
You can very wel use veggie mince meat. If you do, use less bread-crumbs. Cut the tomato in very small pieces, grate the cheese and mix everything together at once. Knead very well, it´s allright if it feels a little damp. Bake a little shorter.

Another possibility is using mushrooms, chopped in little pieces and a bit pre-fried. In that case, also add the tomato and grated cheese at once and knead well. Add bread-crumbs until it feels firm and does not fall apart immediately. In this case also bake a little shorter.

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