RECIPE: Polpettone (Italian meatloaf)

by - May 26, 2015

Most people are familiar with the adopted American version of this meatloaf but few will have come across the Italian polpettone, which translates as "giant meatball"! This is a classic Sicilian dish, really family friendly and is easy to make. And slicing into it to reveal the "surprise" (a line of hard boiled eggs) is always a perk, but that may just be me!

I prefer a mixture of meats for this, ideally pork and veal but you can also use a ratio of beef instead.

Serves 4

1tbs olive oil
1small of onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic,  finely chopped
600g minced Meat. I like a 50/50 mix of either lean beef and pork or pork and veal
80g of pangrattinato (Italian dry breadcrumbs) or equivalent of freshly made breadcrumbs from day old bread
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g freshly grated Parmesan
Parsley, finely chopped, about 1 heaped tablespoon
1tsp dried oregano
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
3 hard boiled eggs, shelled
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200C

Line a small loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently sautée the onion, carrot and garlic until softened.
In a large mixing bowl place the meat(s), breadcrumbs, beaten egg, Parmesan, herbs, nutmeg, cooked onion and carrot mixture and seasoning. Mix this thoroughly with your hands.

Place about a third of the mixture in the bottom of the lined loaf tin.  Pack another third around the sides, leaving a cavity for the boiled eggs.

Arrange the boiled eggs in a line long ways in the cavity and then place the remaining meat on top. 
Press the loaf firmly and shape the top, rounding the edges slightly. Drizzle the top with olive oil.

Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked through, covering the top with foil about halfway through the cooking time.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes, tightly covered with foil.

Serve with gravy or more authentically, a simple tomato sauce with greens and sautéed potatoes.

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