Recipe: Rustic Italian-Style Meatloaf

It shouldn't come as a surprise that we love meatloaf. First of all, it's MEAT. LOAF. And, like a soup or stew, it makes awesome leftovers and it's super easy to throw together. We're busy preparing for Christmakkah dinner this week, so it seemed like the perfect thing to cook. We keep two kinds of meatloaf in heavy rotation. One is based on Jake's father recipe - kind of a rustic Italian style. The other is more of a French-country-pate-thing. We went rustic this week but don't worry - we'll post the classed up version another time. 

The secret behind this amazing loaf is that it's essentially just a giant classic Italian meatball. We picked up a pound of hot Italian sausage from Flying Pigs, a pound of ground beef from Grazin Angus, and pulled out some frozen ground pastured veal from Dickson’s. All that awesome meat gets "loafed" together with some spices, bread crumbs, milk and eggs, and presto! Surround it with sliced onions and canned whole tomatoes and in the end you have a spicy, garlicky, super-moist meatloaf and a thick tomato sauce to slather on it. Oh yeah, and we add bacon! This is one of those dishes that's ideal for a dinner party or a hearty week night meal.

Italian Style Meatloaf

+ 1 lb ground beef
+ 1 lb ground veal
+ 1 lb hot Italian sausage
+ 2 eggs
+ ½ cup bread crumbs
+ ½ cup whole milk
+ ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
+ 3 garlic cloves, minced
+ salt and pepper
+ ½ lbs of sliced bacon
+ 1 onion sliced
+ 1 can of whole tomatoes crushed by hand, liquid drained

1. Preheat oven to 500. Combine the milk and bread crumbs, allowing the crumbs to absorb most of the milk - about 3 minutes. 
2. Lightly beat the eggs and combine in a large bowl with meat, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until combined and place in a baking dish, forming it into a loaf. There should be some room around the loaf - a 9x13 baking pan works perfectly.
3. Lay the strips of bacon over the loaf and spread the onions around the bottom of the pan. Remove the tomatoes out of the can one at a time, slightly crushing them in your hand as you add them on top of the onions.
4. Place in oven. After 15 minutes, turn the temperature down to 350. The meatloaf will be done in another 45 minutes.

Serves 4 with leftovers.

(Note: We recently broke our 9x13 pan, so we made this loaf in a smaller container. Because the juices couldn't spread out and didn't evaporate during cooking, it didn't firm up enough for us to cut nice clean slices. And we didn't let it cool at all. It was still great - but if you're making it the centerpiece of a party it's best to have a wider pan and let it sit for 10 minutes.)

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