Monday, December 18, 2023

Italian Meatloaf

Savory and satisfying, this recipe makes a lot. Modified from a recipe broadcast on Cook's Country (PBS TV).
1 T olive oil
1/4 c thin garlic slices
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 sleeve saltines
3/4 c whole milk
2 large eggs
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
2 oz (1 c) grated Parmesan cheese
1 t granulated garlic
1 t dry oregano
1/2 t table salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
3 T chopped fresh basil

Heat the oil in 3-quart saucepan over medium to 350 F. Add the garlic slices and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the rest of the sauce ingredients, bring to a fast simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside covered, to keep warm. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 F. Treat a 9 X 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place saltines in large zip-lock bag, seal bag, and crush saltines to fine crumbs with rolling pin or a heavy pan. Whisk milk and eggs in large bowl and stir in the crumbs. Let the mixture stand for about 5 minutes and then whisk it to form a smooth paste. Add beef, sausage, Parmesan, and the seasonings and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Transfer beef mixture to the prepared baking dish. Wet your hands, then shape into 9 X 5-inch rectangle. The top should be flat and meatloaf should be about 1-1/2 inches tall. Pour sauce over the meatloaf. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spills. Bake until meatloaf registers 160 F in the middle, about 65 to 75 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, and rest it for 15 minutes. With 2 spatulas, lift the meatloaf onto a cutting board. With a flat spoon, remove excess grease from the sauce. Cut the meatloaf into 1-inch slices, return them to the sauce, and garnish with the basil. Yields about 8 servings.