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Italian Pesto Meatloaf

I have been making the same meatloaf with a sweet and spicy tomato and honey glaze for a while now, and I was getting sick of eating it even if my family was not. Thus I decided it was time for something new. The cup of left over pesto from my last batch of spinach and basil pesto was all the inspiration I needed to whip up a new meatloaf recipe. And I have to say I like this version more than my old meatloaf, but it might just be because it’s a new taste. Don’t forget to that you top the loaf with half the Parmesan and pesto for the last 20 minutes of cooking, it makes the most wonderful cheesy crust, the best part — I think.  Playing on the Italian theme I decided that no ketchup would touch this meatloaf instead I popped opened a jar of store bough marinara sauce as a side sauce and everyone love it.  I finished off this meal with steamed broccoli and sweet potato fries.  Italian pesto meatloaf is a quick meal you can make any weeknight and one that has tons of flavor.

2 lbs mixed ground meat (beef, pork, veal)

¼ cup bread crumbs, any kind will work

1 egg

2 stalks of celery, diced small

2 small onion, diced small

2 tbsp Italian spice blend, use your favorite or make your own blend

4 cloves of garlic minced or micoplaned

Ground black pepper to taste

½ cup of pesto

1 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup homemade or store bought marinara sauce

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Making meat loaf is pretty simple, everything goes in the bowl and you mix it up. Use half the pesto and half the Parmesan in the loaf the rest is going on top. Some people like the veggies diced really small and will use the food processor; I just give a good chop with the knife.  Don’t over work the meat when you are mixing.

Next get your baking sheet ready by lining it with parchment paper, be sure to us a pan with an edge all the way around like a jelly roll pan so you don’t have any liquid dripping into your oven. Using the pesto in this recipe will result in quite a bit of olive oil rendering out of the loaf as it bakes, so an edge on the pan is important. Form the meat into a loaf either with your hands or using a loaf pan as a mold.

Place the meat on the baking sheet and into the oven for 35-40 minutes, then top the loaf with the reaming pesto and Parmesan. Then return to the oven for about 20 minutes or until internal temperature is a least 155 degrees.

Serve with a spoonful of marinara sauce overreach slice to give that real Italian flavor.

Slice the loaf and then spoon marinara over the slices if you are serving the whole loaf on a single plate for a pretty presentation.

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