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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Polpettone - Tuscan Stovetop Meatloaf

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...There are times when my sense of the absurd overcomes common sense. Before I go any further, you need a little background. I've been working with a cookbook that was written for folks who know their way around the kitchen. There are no detailed instructions to take you from the larder to the table in 10 easy steps. There's a list of ingredients and a few charming, but terse instructions that can be summarized as "mix and bake." I've long waged a personal war with recipes that call for a chopped onion or 2 cloves of garlic. My brain is wired to handle balanced equations and specific instructions. What size onion are you talking about? If onions upset me, you can imagine how well I handle an instruction directing me to shape a meatloaf like a football. You'll be even more surprised to learn I tried. Fortunately, I realized it was impossible to fry anything shaped like an American football before reaching DEFCON 1. Undeterred, but taking terrible hazing from Bob, I decided they must have meant a soccer ball. I tried that, too, but my creation collapsed under it's own weight and became a discus. I fell back on my old standby, the salami-shaped cylinder, and fortunately that worked, allowing me to roll the loaf as it browned. I choose this recipe because it's geared to a smaller table and I was intrigued by the fact that it was cooked on top of the stove. It also made a ton of sauce that would be perfect for pasta. Despite the false starts, silliness and instructions lost in translation this is a lovely meatloaf that is perfect for smaller families. Here is the recipe for polpettone - Tuscan meatloaf.

Polpetonne - Tuscan Stovetop Meatloaf...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Judy Witts Francini


1 pound lean ground beef
2 ounces prosciutto, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
2 slices crustless bread, soaked in milk, then squeezed to remove liquid
Flour for dredging
1/2 onion, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely dice
1 stalk celery, scrubbed and finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Olive oil
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
1 (28-oz.) can plum tomatoes packed in juice

1) Mix beef with prosciutto, egg, cheese and bread, Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. I used a teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and a big pinch of nutmeg.Shape meatloaf like a football, roll in flour or breadcrumbs.
2) Saute onion, carrot and celery in olive oil. I used 2 tablespoons. After 10 minutes, add polpettone, turning to brown on all sides. Add tomatoes and up to a cup of their juice. Cover and let cook slowly, turning frequently to avoid sticking. I cooked mine for 30 minutes. Very carefully remove from pan to a cutting board. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. Slice and serve with lemon wedges. Yield: 4 servings.

Cook's Note: The parsley specified in the ingredient list was never mentioned in the instructions. I added it to the tomato sauce. Next time I'll include it in the meat mixture.

Here are some other great meatloaf recipes from other blogs:
Moroccan Meatloaf from Simply Recipes
Kalyn's Best Meatloaf from Kalyn's Kitchen
Turkey Meatloaf with Fig Gravy from The Perfect Pantry


Coleen's Recipes said...

I could REALLY indentify with your post today. I much prefer an ingredient that says 1/2 cup chopped onion rather than "small onion"...that could mean anything!! Your meatloaf photo is beautiful and I found it very interesting that it is a stove top recipe. I admire your courage with that cookbook haha. Oh, by the way "spice to taste" drives me nuts in a recipe.

Federica said...

buonissimo il polpettone! complimenti รจ molto invitante!

Debinhawaii said...

It looks like a great meatloaf and how interesting that it was done on the stovetop too.

Ginger said...

You have me chuckling this morning
:-) Great post and wonderful Meatloaf. I really think I could get the picky eater of the house to eat your meatloaf. I will let you know. Have a great week.

Martha said...

It's fall/winter -- meatloaf time again -- this looks yummy!

George Gaston said...

Mary, this looks incredible! Comfort food at its best. Thanks

Tanyia said...

Great recipe.

I do not mind vague instructions to awful much. What I really can not stand are the... place in bowl, get out spoon, mix with spoon, ugh! It is the uber elementary steps that drive me bonkers lol

Kalyn said...

What an intriguing recipe. I'm totally with you on the desire for recipe instructions that are completely precise, but then I catch myself writing instructions that aren't always as clear as I'd like too, lol!

Baba's Special Babies said...

Good morning , your recipe of this meatloaf looks and sounds wonderful.. I like the idea of cooking it on top of the stove..thanks for sharing with us. Hugs, Baba

Alyssa said...

I had to laugh at your description, because I can't imagine trying to shape a meatloaf like any kind of football at all! What an interesting way to cook a meatloaf.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

All's well that ends well. It looks very tasty indeed. How fascinating that it cooked through on the stove-top.

jeanne said...

Hello Mary, thank you for your comment on our puppy. Last night she cried for 20 minutes. It is pitiful to say the least. She has a plan, I think. She starts with low meow cries then quickly crescendos to an angry loud cry and finally to a whimpering sound before she falls asleep. She needs to adjust to her crate for her own safety. sigh. She is otherwise, an angel. She is already trained to potty outside.

Now the meatloaf. Your text made me smile. I am trying to imagine why a meatloaf cooked on top of the stove is better than the oven. BIG smile. You know me, the easy way out suits me better. I know it is delicious and I like the small size.
I will try it in the oven. I hope you aren't disappointed in me!!! LOL.

Have a fun day cooking up a storm. We have our own storm going on here today. Ida is paying us a visit I think.

Hugs xoxo, Jeanne

Rachel said...

Meat loaf and a stove top one....great!

Katherine Aucoin said...

My bad, because I go by onions (medium) and cloves of garlic and don't always measure with tablespoons and teaspoons. I'll try to do better!

I like your version of a Tuscan refeshing compared to the same old one i prepare with a few changes here and there.

Lynda said...

For all your trouble it looks quite delicious, Mary! I've not tried cooking meatloaf on the stove top.

Mary said...

Katherine, don't feel bad because I do the very same thing with no intention on changing my ways either! :) At this stage I am an "old dog" so for a recipe like this, small onion and 2 cloves of garlic it shall be!

In my mind for something like a meatloaf, those are adjustable items anyway, so if you like onion, add more, if you love garlic, do the same! On recipes where I think the amount matters, I will specify only 1/4 cup of chopped onion or a half tablespoon of minced garlic. I guess I think in a different part of my brain!

Life is too short ladies to get worked up over onions and garlic!

The meatloaf looks great Mary! I am not endeared to any one meatloaf because I like to try different things and no meatloaf was really passed down to me. I love the addition of prosciutto and will try that soon!

And here's how weird I am. I totally understand the football shape thing! :)

Karen said...

It looks like a football to me ;) I like that it's cooked on top of the stove and I would have thought it would have taken much longer than it did. I'm just the opposite... I don't pay too much attention to quantities in recipes!

The Food Librarian said...

This looks great. I like the idea of cooking it on the stovetop...great when you don't want to heat up the kitchen...or when you have dessert in the oven! :) - mary the food librarian

Carla said...

I almost NEED an amount. I know alot of cooks cook without, but I have never learned how. You almost have to make it more than once to see how much you would like in it. This meatloaf is a lovely thing! Thanks for sharing, as always:)

Jamie said...

Aha! You and I are so alike! We like our cookbooks literal and precise! And this plpettone (big polpette!) is wonderful. I love the flavors and the promise of a lot of sauce. Want to try. Husband and I would love this kind of meal.

Debbie said...

I'm one of those people that need the instructions to anything spelled out clearly....You had me laughing when you mentioned about a football shaped meatloaf and than a soccer ball shaped one! Yours looks great and it certainly was cooked a bit different than a meatloaf normally is!

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

I have never heard of a stove-top meatloaf, but it looks marvelous!

mbkatc230 said...

This really made me smile. Vague instructions drive me nuts too. Or when you follow a recipe to the letter and realize that there is an ingredient still sitting on the counter that is mentioned nowhere BUT the ingredient list! I will try this, it sounds delicious. But I think I will shape it like yours. We get enough football around here without shaping our food like one! Kathy

Donna-FFW said...

Ive never heard of a meatloaf cooked on a stovetop before, how intriguing, it looks delicious.

Cathy said...

Despite the unusual preparation this recipe for meatloaf looks delish. I love a good meatloaf sandwich.

Katy ~ said...

I like to think of myself as a free spirit, but when it comes to cooking, I need precise instruction. I was roaring with laughter when you went from the American football to the soccer ball.Yep, I was right there with you. This meatloaf looks very good indeed. Good and delicious twist on a favorite.

Screamin' Mama said...

Interesting recipe. I haven't had meatloaf in ages. Must give it a try.

Helene said...

Your meatloaf looks fantastic!

ivoryspring said...


Coming to your blog always makes me hungry!!!! ;)

Shirl said...

Hi Mary, I'm still making my Pink Saturday and Blue Monday visits. Thank you so much for stopping by, love your post this week, looks delish. I've got lots of Morrel mushrooms in the freezer.
Blessings, Shirl
Shirls Rose Cottage

My Little Space said...

I'm not a big fan of meatloaf but this looks inviting! I wanna have a bite.

Jeanne Selep said...

Lovely Very European view!

katrina said...

Looks delicious - and I love that it can be made on the cooktop!

A Canadian Foodie said...

This caught my eye as we have just returned from a 5 week tour of mainly Italy - and the recipe looks divine. I love meatloaf. I have filed this one away to try, very very soon!

Anonymous said...

My dad made a version of this, but he rolled the meat into small meatballs and cooked them in a tomatoe sauce made from canned tomatoes, onions, garlic and a dash of vinegar and served on spaghetti with grated cheese. It was delicious, moist meatballs and a delicious sauce we would fight over to scrape our bread in the pan.

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