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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)

Serves 4
  • 3 slices of sandwich bread
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 250 grams (9 ounces) ground beef
  • 250 grams (9 ounces) ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 slices of cheese (Gruyere, Emmental or any other cheese)
  • 6 slices of cooked ham
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (395 degrees F).
  2. In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk then leave for a few minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the beef, pork, parsley, onions, Parmesan, the bread soaked in milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix them very well with your hands until the mixture becomes compact.
  4. Divide the mixture in two to make two loaves if you don't have a big cast iron pan to cook them in. Spread the mixture on a piece of parchment paper or strong aluminum foil. At the center, layer the cooked ham and cheese. You can also add more ham and cheese if you want.
  5. Roll to close with the help of the parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  6. Over medium - high heat, prepare a large cast iron pan with extra virgin olive oil until hot then roll out the polpettone from the paper to the pan carefully. Brown all sides.
  7. Transfer the saucepan in the oven. After cooking for 15 minutes, pour the wine then cook for another 15 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by half.
  8. Let it rest for about 10 minutes, slice then serve.