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Neapolitan meatloaf “polpettone”

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Meatloaf surprise
Neapolitan meatloaf with egg and salami

Italians seem to know how to make even the ordinary dish taste extraordinary. This tasty meatloaf contains an egg and salami surprise when you cut into it. It’s surprisingly delicious. This version is baked in the oven. In Naples, it is also sometimes wrapped in muslin fabric and deep fried. Yup…a deep fried giant meat ball surprise! I can’t say “polpettone” (pole-pah-tone-ay) without smiling and thinking about how often I heard this term used to describe my sweet chubby baby boy when we lived there. It was their way of saying – oh my gosh – he’s the cutest, sweetest, chubby baby. And indeed – he was a “biggah meeetball.”

meatloaf 004
Neapolitan meatloaf with tomato sauce

 

The Recipe

1 to 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
.5 to .75 lbs ground pork
½ cup diced sweet onion
Salt & pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 to 3 tablespoons milk (optional, recommended)
¼ cup breadcrumbs (optional, recommended)
1 lightly beaten raw egg (optional)
2 hard cooked eggs
Genoa salami slices
Tomato sauce

Method

Combine approximately 1.5 lbs of lean ground beef with .5 to .75 lbs of ground pork (more or less). Add approximately 1/2 cup of finely diced sweet onion, some dried oregano (approximately 1 teaspoon) and salt and pepper. You can also add a little milk (about 2-3 tablespoons), bread crumbs (about 1/4 cup) and a beaten egg (leave these out if you are gluten free or dairy free). With your clean hands, combine everything (except for the hard cooked eggs, salami, and tomato sauce) together distributing the ingredients.

Lay the meat out onto a large piece of wax paper. Place another piece of wax paper on top. Using your hands or a small rolling pin, gently push the meat outwards flattening it roughly into the shape of a rectangle. It shouldn’t be too thin. Remove the upper wax paper layer and place several slices of salami on top of the meat. Place the hard cooked eggs in the center.

Meatloaf ready to roll
Meatloaf ready to roll

Gently lift the bottom wax paper upwards and begin to roll the meat into a loaf shape (all the way around). Continue shaping it into a loaf, and push the ends in to seal it. Place the loaf inside a loaf pan and brush the top with tomato sauce.

Top with tomato sauce
Top with tomato sauce

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F for about 50 minutes. The meat thermometer should register to 155 to 160 F. Let the meatloaf rest a few minutes before slicing into it. Buon appetito!

Mmmmn meatloaf!
Mmmmn meatloaf!
 

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