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Recipe of the Week: Polpettone alla Bolognese (Cheese Meatloaf)


PHOTO PROVIDED Chef Loretta Paganini

Meatloaf with a twist. My students call it the Bolognese version of the common dish. Served sliced with mashed potatoes or cold as a pate. Use a variety of meats for better flavor. I like to grind my own meat, but a mixture of store ground veal, beef and pork also leads to great results. My grandmother always saved the broth used to cook the polpettone to make a delicious soup. Because of the moist cooking method for polpettone, you can use very lean meats. Serves eight. (Chef tip: You can bake the meatloaf in a 350-degree oven for one hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.)

1 pound veal shoulder

1 pound beef round

1 pound pork loin

1/4 pound mortadella

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley chopped

1/4 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 large onion chopped

2 celery stock chopped

1 carrot chopped

Cheese cloth or parchment paper and kitchen string

Trim the veal, beef and pork meat of all tendons, and sinew. Cut into one-inch pieces. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Chill in the refrigerator for one hour.

Grind meat and mortadella twice in the meat grinder or have the butcher do it for you. Do not use a food processor if you do not have a meat grinder. Add the eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley and enough milk to make the mixture moist. Cook a small patty of meat and adjust for salt and pepper. With wet hands mix ingredients together.

Double a piece of cheesecloth or oil a piece of parchment paper. Take meat mixture and shape into a loaf. Wrap loaf with cheesecloth or parchment paper, making sure to have a smooth tight package. Tie with butcher’s string.

Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Add meat loaf, onion, celery and carrot and cook at a simmer for one hour and 45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the broth and cool before removing the cloth and slicing it. Serve it with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.