What’s Cookin’ – Italian Meat Loaf (Polpettone)

My father’s little cookbook from 1993 (and updated in 1996) included a recipe for Italian Meat Loaf or Polpettone.  Polpettone means big or giant meatball in Italian.

I did some research on Polpettones and found out that there are many variations.  Basically, a Polpettone is ground meat that includes a filling which is rolled up and either braised in tomato sauce, fried, or baked.  The standard filling is spinach, cheese, and a hard boiled egg.  Some of the recipes include other fillings like Italian cold cuts.

This recipe supposedly came from a local Italian restaurant, but I could not find it on their current menu nor could I verify if the recipe came from there originally.  My father also said that this recipe served 2 people, but it can easily serve 4.

In any event, I adapted the recipe from my father, and made one of these over the weekend.  It was really good for dinner and made a great sandwich the next day.  With the Italian sausage, egg, and cheese, it was reminiscent of a breakfast sandwich!

Italian Meat Loaf (Polpettone) ingredients.

There are no bread crumbs in this picture.  As I prepared this, I realized that they had been omitted from both the recipe and the picture.  You absolutely need them to hold the meat mixture together.

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Mix together your meats, eggs, bread crumbs, Romano cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.

I used my impeccably clean hands to do the job.  It’s really the best way to mix ground meats to make meat loaf and meatballs, too.  This is also the step where I realized that the mixture needed bread crumbs so I added them in.

Here is the meat mixture ready to put together with the cheese and hard boiled egg.  The baking dish is coated with 1 1/2 TB of olive oil.

Most Polpettones are rolled jelly roll style.  I liked this technique of layering because of how the pieces looked cut when ready to eat.

Shape 1/2 of meat mixture into a flat rectangle in the bottom of your baking dish.

Place your Mozzarella cheese onto the meat.  Layer your sliced hard boiled egg on top of that.

I think sliced Mozzarella cheese would actually work a little easier, but I had already grated some.  Actually, my husband had already grated some for me.

Also, most recipes that I found for Polpettone include spinach with the cheese and egg.  I think spinach would be a great addition and look lovely, too, but my family wouldn’t eat it that way so I stuck with the recipe as written.

Press the other half of the meat mixture into a rectangular shape and place on top of the cheese and egg.  Press together the edges firmly so the cheese does not leak out while cooking.  Brush or rub with 1 1/2 TB of olive oil.

Bake in your preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

You will see that I had a little bit of cheese leak out where I tested the meat for doneness.

A slice of Polpettone ready to eat.

I sliced some of this the next day and ate it on a sandwich.  It was good cold, too.

Yummy!

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3 Responses to What’s Cookin’ – Italian Meat Loaf (Polpettone)

  1. Pingback: What’s Cookin’ – Meatloaf (Collucci Bros.) | Mama's Empty Nest

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