Not all food memories are fond.
I’ve fancied making a meatloaf for a while, but having been traumatised by a few sorry versions of it as a child I was determined to cook one that was delicious and juicy, rather than dense, dry and dull (apologies to any of my former school dinner ladies that are reading).
As a neglected dish idea it had fallen to the bottom of my recipes-to-make-and-blog list, until recently when browsing Foodgawker I came across a take on one that caught my eye — this lovely looking pinwheel creation by Jodie at MyFamilyKitchen.net Jodie makes it like a roulade, which is a great idea and means it can be crammed with lots of flavour and succulence.
I only made a few tweaks to the recipe and the cooking time, and was super happy with the result. As well as seasoning the mixture of pork and beef with salt and pepper, breadcrumbs and egg, I mixed dried oregano and freshly grated nutmeg into the mix to give it an extra Italian vibe.
The seasoned meat is laid out on a sheet of cling film and patted flat, with a mixture of chopped spinach (I’d used the defrosted frozen stuff), creamy ricotta, salty Parmesan cheese, sautéed onions and whole pine nuts then smoothed over the top, before being rolled up nice and tight.
I decided to cook it inside the loaf tin as I didn’t want to lose any of the precious meat juices and flavours from cooking it on a rack. And when it comes out of the oven letting it rest for 10 minutes will allow them to be absorbed back in to the meat, making it super succulent to eat.
If you also have shady meatloaf memories from childhood hopefully you’ll enjoy this crowd pleasing creation (especially when it’s smothered with rich tomato sauce) it really is layer upon layer of flavour and texture.
- 500g pork mince
- 500g lean beef mince
- 1 large red onion, finely sliced
- 150g ricotta
- 6 frozen spinach nugget, defrosted then squeezed to remove the water
- 80g pine nuts
- 40g grated parmesan
- 1 tbsp dried oregano/marjoram
- Half a nutmeg, grated
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 egg, whisked
- 30g breadcrumbs
- Smoked streaky bacon, enough to wrap the loaf
- 400g pasatta
- 250ml red wine
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 190°C.
- Gently fry the onions for around 10 minutes until softened, adding the pine nuts during the last few minutes, set aside to cool in a large mixing bowl.
- In another large mixing bowl add the meats and mix together by hand thoroughly.
- Add a couple of level teaspoons of salt, the nutmeg, oregano, breadcrumbs, egg and a generous grind of black pepper and continue to mix for a few minutes, until all the flavours are evenly combined. Set aside.
- Add to the cooled onion and pine nut mixture the parmesan, ricotta and spinach, and mix together thoroughly.
- Lay out a large sheet of cling wrap in front of you and turn out the meat mixture on to it, patting it down lightly until it’s a large rectangle in front of you, just under 1cm thick.
- On the top of the meat add the ricotta mixture and spread it out over the meat until its covered the meat to every edge.
- Lift up the shorter edge of the cling film and gently tuck the meat over like an arctic roll (what a culinary reference!) tucking and rolling until it’s all wrapped up, making sure that the seam is sealed. Don’t roll it up with the cling film inside it!
- Carefully take hold of each end and gently tuck them under a little while popping it into a lightly oiled loaf tin.
- Drape the smoked streaky bacon over the top of the loaf as in the picture, and pop into the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
- While it’s cooking, add the red wine and tomatoes to a pan with a glug of extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper, simmering to cook out the alcohol and reduce the sauce.
- After 40 minutes, remove the loaf from the oven and spoon over some of the sauce, popping it back into the oven for 10 minutes. Once that’s done, remove it from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes (or more) before cutting.
- Serve with leaves, bread and more of the tomato sauce to spoon over the top.