Meatloaf is a standard in many home kitchens. For many people meatloaf is immediately associated with mashed potatoes and gravy, and it evokes childhood memories.
Meatloaf and mashed potatoes is comfort food to be eaten when it’s cold outside and we need to feel the warmth of hearth and home.
I would never take away these fond memories or associations. I want to offer a new way to think about this dish.
This is an Italian version of meatloaf complete with garlic, tomatoes, eggplant and smoked mozzarella. Give it a try and tell your family it’s Polpettone — they won’t be looking for the mashed potatoes and gravy!
POLPETTONE STUFFED WITH EGGPLANT AND SMOKED MOZZARELLA
EVENT: Weeknight Sit-in-the-Kitchen Dinner
SERVES: 8 People
1 – 1 1/2 lbs eggplant un-peeled, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained *
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 lb (or 16 oz) ground turkey
1/2 lb (or 8 oz) ground veal
1/3 – 1/4 cup almond meal
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese *
1 – 2 large eggs
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil, to brush on top
Large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line roasting pan with parchment paper.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil. Add garlic and eggplant, and cook until eggplant starts to brown.
4. Add diced tomatoes, fresh basil, salt and pepper. Combine until thoroughly mixed. Cook about 3-5 minutes. Add Italian parsley.
5. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly. Mix in chunks of mozzarella and set aside.
6. In a large bowl, using your hands, gently combine ground turkey, ground veal and almond meal.
7. Add salt and pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese.
8. Add eggs, one at a time. You don’t want mixture too wet. It has to hold together. If it is too wet, you can add a bit more almond meal.
9. Put the meat mixture on the parchment paper and pad it into a rectangle, approximately 8 X 10 inches and 3/4 inches thick.
10. Spread the eggplant mixture over the top, leaving a border (see the photos).
11. Using the parchment paper to help roll the meat around the filling to form a loaf. If there is extra filling, set it aside and bake it separately. (A snack for the cook.)
12. Combine balsamic vinegar and olive oil in small dish and brush the meat loaf. Bake on parchment paper.
A NOTE: To reduce recipe, buy smaller eggplant and use a total of 1 lb of ground meat.
You will have extra filling. Cook penne pasta or rigatoni pasta and combine with extra filling and bake in a small casserole dish.
Serve or freeze to use later.
* ANOTHER NOTE: I buy the canned diced tomatoes and the grated Parmesan cheese at Costco.