04 February 2011

Polpettone (Meat Loaf)

If asked what he can take to a pot luck party when he was young, my husband's friends would unanimously say "il polpettone della tua mamma" translated to "the meatloaf of your mother".  Time and again, he would ask to me learn his mom's recipe.  I never tried because I was intimidated of his mom & his aunts' cooking abilities. They have the inborn trait of what Sicilian women are about.  If reading to babies in the womb makes them intellectually stimulated, I think Sicilian women are born kitchen geniuses because food pervade all their senses while still inside the womb.

Polpettone is translated to meat loaf.  I have tried a lot of kinds of polpettone here but this one stands out.  It requires more time & effort than the usual whirlwind dishes I am accustomed to but, I would say, every minute is well-worth the effort.

Polpettone (Meat Loaf)

Yields about 4 cylinders of polpettone of about 15 cm. in length and  6 -7 cm. in diameter.
  • 1/4 kilo ground veal 
  • 1/4 kilo ground pork
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 slices of bread (the one you use for toasting)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmessan
  • gruyere, emmental or any similar cheese.  I used slices of parmigiano reggiano done for sandwiches which are creamy & soft. I found them better than the cheeses mentioned.
  • 1 grated onion
  • slices of prosciutto cotto (cooked ham)
  • 1/2 glass of white wine  
  • hardboiled eggs (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil
Preparing the mixture: 
In a bowl, mix meat, milk, bread, minced parsley, salt, pepper, parmigiano reggiano, grated onion & eggs.  Work on it with your hands until the mixture becomes compact.  One advice is to take out the ingredients much ahead because if they just came out from the refrigerator, your fingers will freeze from the cold.   Set aside.

Preparing to roll:
Spread the meat mixture on a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil by making a rectangle.  In the center, layer some strips of prosciutto cotto, cheese & hardboiled eggs.  You decide on how much you want inside.  With my rolls, I put 2 slices of each.  Roll to close with the help of the wax paper or aluminum foil.  

Cooking on the stove:
Prepare a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil.  Roll out polpettone carefully from paper into the pan.  Saute’ until brown.
Cooking in the oven:
Trasfer the polpettone in an oiled baking pan.  Put inside a pre-heated oven of 200 degrees Celcius at the baking position.  When oil starts to sizzle, pour the white wine.   Cook for about 20 minutes or until the sauce diminishes to a third or half of the original volume. 

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