I was challenged by a friend to make a meatloaf. I had never made meatloaf before but I’ve never met a food challenge I wasn’t willing to try!
Not knowing much about meatloaf was both a challenge and help. I didn’t know what it was “supposed” to taste like, I honestly can’t really remember ever eating it before. But I do remember hearing people give a ho-hum at the idea of meatloaf for dinner.
With nothing to loose I set out to make this classic homemade dish. To me, a meatloaf was nothing more that a giant meatball. And being part of an Italian family, meatballs are something I DO know a lot about!
My husband and I were pleasantly surprised! The meatloaf turned out so juicy and light. It held together but fell apart in our mouth. The fresh basil and parsley added a much needed fresh element. In a pinch you could use dried herbs but I really think for a dense meal it’s important to add some light flavors. We ate every single bite! My husband was even making meatloaf sandwiches the next two days for lunch!
I hope you enjoy this revamped Italian meatloaf as much as we do! If you give it a try tag #DeSocioInTheKitchen I’d love to see how it turned out for you!
1 pound ground beef - I go for the 80/20
1 pound Italian pork sausage - if you like a little heat go for the spicy version
1 cup breadcrumbs - homemade or store bought
2 cloves garlic - minced on a microplane or chopped*
1 large onion, minced on a microplane or chopped*
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt - more or less to your taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper - more or less to your taste
1 cup Parmesan - shredded
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar - I prefer a thick balsamic
1 jar marinara sauce (25oz jar)– your favorite jar or homemade
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
* If you use a microplace to mince up the onion and garlic you can skip the (first) sauté step. It saves on time and dishes. If you don’t want to use a microplane, or don’t have one you really need to pre-cook the garlic and onion. Otherwise they won’t cook through and you’ll end up eating hard, raw chunks of onion and garlic.
Optional step: Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat and add the garlic. Sauté 1 minute then add the onions and sauté until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a large bowl place the pork and ground beef (do not mix yet). Sprinkle the Parmesan and breadcrumbs over the meat.
In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, basil, parsley salt and pepper and add to the bowl with the meat. Add in the (sauté) garlic and onions, the balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Thoroughly combine everything, try not to over mix, stop when everything is just combined. (Over mixing leads to tough and chewy end product)
Oil up your loaf pan and pack the meat mixture into the pan. If you do not have a loaf pan, form the meat mixture into a loaf-type shape on an oiled baking tray (make sure it’s a lipped tray so the juices don’t run all over your oven), or use a baking dish. Top evenly with the marinara sauce.
Cover with foil and bake for roughly 50 minutes or until your thermometer registers 160 degrees F in the center of the meatloaf. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Remove from loaf pan (if using) slice and serve topped with a little more marinara, Parmesan and fresh basil if desired.