stuffed meatloaf with tomato & onion ragu (polpettone ripiene)

By • February 23, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: A longtime tradition in my famiglia, this is a cross between a meatball and a meatloaf but with a wonderful filling that adds tons of flavor. I love to make this for a weekday meal or a celebration dinner.cucina di mammina

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Makes 1 meatloaf/polpettone

stuffed meatloaf

  • 1 pound ground beef and pork mixture
  • soft bread crumb (approx. 4 slices without crust) crumbled
  • 2 large organic eggs (raw)
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated pecorino romano cheese
  • fresh italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sweet onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • whole milk
  • olive oil (for cooking)
  • fresh leaf spinach, washed and prepped
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 3 large organic eggs, soft or hard boiled
  • 2-3 thin slices of prosciutto ham (if desired)

tomato & onion ragu

  • 3-4 cups san marzano canned plum tomatoes, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • glass of white wine
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. For the ragu, In a large stockpot, add a good dash of olive oil and the small sweet onion, chopped. Bring up to heat and allow to saute for just a minute or so. Add in the canned tomatoes, stirring well until combined with the oil and chopped onion.
  2. Bring this to a very slow simmer, add the glass of wine and cook slowly until begins to thicken; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. For the stuffed meatloaf, take a large mixing bowl and place the ground meat mixture and let it sit covered for a few minutes until it comes to room temperature. In a small bowl, place the crumbled soft bread and a dash of milk to soften and break it up; set aside.
  4. Once the meat has rested, season lightly with salt and pepper, add in the two grated cheeses, chopped parsley, chopped shallot and onion, and the two raw whole eggs and the milk-soften bread crumble (fluid drained off.)
  5. Slowly begin to blend these ingredients together by hand without smashing the ground meat. Knead until the mixture is evenly combined and the texture is smooth to the touch. Cover and set aside.
  6. In a small skillet, add some olive oil and garlic clove, peeled and cut into chunks. Bring up to heat until the garlic begins to slowly sizzle, add in the fresh spinach leaves and saute until just wilted; remove from heat and drain any extra liquid; remove garlic and toss.
  7. Take the three boiled eggs, peel them and place in a small bowl; season lightly with salt and pepper. Take a large sheet of waxed paper and lay in on your work surface.
  8. Assemble your eggs, sauteed spinach, prosciutto ham around your work area. Take a bit less than half of your ground meat mixture and pat it down onto the waxed paper to form a long rectangle shape, about 3/4 to 1/2 inch thick or so.
  9. Place the sauteed spinach leaves down the center of this rectangle and lay the 3 cooked eggs on top in a row, vertical fashion. Place pieces of the prosciutto on the sides or tops of the eggs.
  10. Use the wax paper to roll the meatloaf, sausage-style up and seal the ends very well. Take the wax paper wrapped meatloaf and place in a container or dish in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour to set the shape/form in place.
  11. Remove the meatloaf from the cold and let it rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes or so. Bring a large nonstick skillet or dutch oven to medium heat and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  12. Place the meatloaf (with wax paper removed and discarded) and brown the meatloaf bottom until golden and sizzling.
  13. If the meat loaf is easy to turn over, continue to brown on the stovetop until browned on top as well (I find it easier to place the meatloaf into my oven broiler to brown the top; I do not like risking the meatloaf breaking or cracking. Watch it carefully when broiling as you do not want to overcook or burn the meatloaf in the process.)
  14. Place the browned meatloaf on the stovetop and add in the tomato & onion ragu along with some water until the liquid almost covers the meatloaf.
  15. Place a lid cover at a slant and keep the heat at medium or so until the sauce begins to bubble and simmer slowly.
  16. Cook this for about 45 minutes to an hour, turning the sauce a bit every once in a while until thickened. Check the heat and keep the simmer slow, not a rolling boil or the sauce and meat will burn on the bottom.
  17. Remove from the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

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