Polpettone is simply the Italian word for meatloaf. Traditionally, this dish was made with leftovers from the night before such as bread, vegetables, and meat. In the countries that have experienced the war, like Italy, it was almost like a sin to waste food, especially meat and vegetables, as it was rare and expensive. Making a meatloaf was just the perfect way to use leftovers and make a tasty dish.
Nowadays, almost any type of meatloaf is available on the market, including vegetarian and vegan ones which are not made with leftovers (although I still would not trust ordering some at a restaurant). Here is my recipe which I have accompanied with an organic stuffed artichoke. For this meatloaf you need:
– 250g ground veal meat
– 250g ground pork meat
– 1/2 medium onion
– 40g parsley
– 50g ciabatta bread, preferably 2 – 3 days old or dry
– paprika, nutmeg powder, salt and pepper
I personally like to mix all the ingredients with my hands, but you can use a fork.When all the ingredients are almost incorporated, take out the bread from the milk squeezing it to eliminate the extra milk, chop it and mix it to the meat and spices. Continue to mix till the mix looks homogeneous.
Place the on a clear plastic wrap and make a “big meat candy” then leave it in the fridge for at least 45 minutes. Once the mean has rested, take it out of the fridge and let it rest outside for 20 minutes (to avoid the thermal shock from the fridge and oven temperature) during which you can start heating the oven at 180C (375F). Cook the meatloaf in a baking pan for at least one hour; the first 45 minutes, keep the baking pan covered with an aluminum foil, then uncover it to brown. Remember to make a couple of little holes in the aluminum so the vapor can “escape” otherwise you will steam the meatloaf.
Once the meatloaf is in the oven, you can start prepping the artichokes by rinsing them under cold water and removing the hard leaves. We are going to steam them. Prepare the stuffing with the following:
– plain breadcrumbs
– chopped parsley
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVO)
– salt and pepper
Remember to keep the stuffing moiste; be generous with the EVO. Open the artichoke leaves and start stuffing them. Place in the steamer and keep on medium fire for about 45 minutes, or at least until you see that the stuffing has softened. You can also use a pressure cooker if you have it, just remember to steam the artichoke for probably half of the time.