Growing up my Mom made meatloaf almost once a week. It was never the same since she didn't use a recipe, but it was always delicious. This was one of my favorite ways she made it, with a little bit of cheese and lots of basil. We made it together over the weekend (hence her hands in the picture) and I did my best to quantify the ingredients while we assembled it! —Kelsey Banfield
Test Kitchen Notes
I made Kelsey's meatloaf tonight and it was a hit! I followed her advice to make it early in the day and wrap it and refrigerate it for later, which I think was the right thing to do because the meatloaf mixture is quite wet. Letting it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours helped it hold together. I did two things differently: I used all ground beef because my husband doesn't eat pork and I couldn't find ground veal (and haven't yet invested in the meat grinder for my KitchenAid mixer). I also used fresh bread crumbs rather than Italian bread crumbs -- I just prefer to make my own. I also don't have a convection oven so I cooked it at 375 for about an hour and 15 minutes, which was longer and hotter than she recommended. It formed a nice crust, and the cheese and basil were melted together in the center. Even my husband--who grew up in a Kosher house and says he doesn't eat milk and meat together (except for chicken parmigiana, but I digress) liked it very much and took seconds. It was kind of like an inside-out meatball pizza, without the crust. We also put warm marinara sauce over the slices when we served them. I took Kelsey's suggestion and baked two potatoes and sauteed a little broccoli in olive oil -- it made a good, easy dinner, and we have more for another night. - drbabs —The Editors
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix together the meats, egg, Worcestershire Sauce, Italian seasoning, marinara sauce, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs until everything is totally combined.
On a clean surface pound out the meat with your hands until it is about one inch thick. Then, scatter the shredded mozzarella and most of the basil leaves in a line in the center (pictured above), leaving one inch on either end. Then, fold up the sides and ends of the meatloaf and pinch the meat to seal in the cheese. Form a loaf shape with your hands. Scatter the remaining basil leaves on top.
Transfer meatloaf to a roasting pan topped with aluminum foil. Poke a couple of holes in the foil so that the drippings can drain while cooking. Or, you can just bake it on a cooking sheet. (Note, we prefer this method to baking it in an actual loaf pan because we think it cooks the outside more evenly and the loaf develops a better crust).
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes on Convection. If you don't have convection bake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes. To check if meat is done cut into it and make sure it isn't pink on the inside and the outside has a nice crust. Serve hot (preferably with a baked potato, which can be baked simultaneously in the oven along with the meatloaf).
Notes: This is great to make-ahead. If you make it during the day (like I do) wrap the finished meatloaf in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it.
Home cook, food blogger, cookbook author, wine lover, avid traveler, and mother of two young children. Check out my books: The Naptime Chef: Fitting Great Food into Family Life (2012), and The Family Calendar Cookbook: From Birthdays to Bake Sales, Good Food to Carry You Through the Year (2015), Running Press.