Polpettone (Italian meatloaf) with Mortadella and Ricotta, is a rich and tasty meat dish that kids and grown-ups will love. Extra-lean ground beef, shredded mortadella, ricotta, Parmigiano, and pistachios are the main ingredients of this Italian delicacy. Cooked in white wine becomes extra tender and juicy!
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Polpettone, the wonderful Italian meatloaf
All in all, I do not cook many meat dishes, I leave that to Loreto. However, this Polpettone is among my pièces de resistence.
In my beginning years living with Loreto in Canada, this very Polpettone with Mortadella and Ricotta was one of the very first things I made. Everyone enjoyed it so much that it became a regular weeknight meal.
Extremely moist and super tasty, it is definitely not your usual meatloaf.
Let's have a look at the ingredients
This polpettone hosts diverse flavors and textures:
- organic extra lean ground beef,
- shredded mortadella,
- chopped pistachios,
- grated Parmigiano
- parsley, salt, and pepper
For one thing, in Italy, Polpettone is a free-form loaf that is baked in a regular baking dish. You will never see anybody using a loaf pan which is reserved for a sweet baked good called Plumcake (basically, a delicious light and tender loaf cake that doesn't have any plums in it, lol).
Let's make Polpettone
Firstly, add all the ingredients in a big bowl. Start blending them with a wooden spoon, then use your clean hands. Polpettone, as well as Polpette (meatballs), is a hands-on affair, you need to feel the consistency and the mingling of the ingredients. After the ingredients are well incorporatde, simply shape it into an oval, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and drizzle with evo oil. Finally, lay it on an oiled baking dish to be cooked in the oven.
In this recipe, some white wine is poured at the bottom of the dish, and it is also used to baste the meatloaf while it is cooking, thus ensuring the most flavorful and moist meat. For a kid-free version, you could use some broth, but anyway, all the alcohol is cooked out. To make sure the meat is cooked all the way through, use a thermometer, inserting it midway in the middle. When it reads 165° F the meat is ready. The pinkish hue is due to the mortadella, and it is speckled with the green of the pistachios.
Look at that wonderful crust that has developed. It just screams flavor and texture with those breadcrumbs toasted and the caramelization of the mortadella and ground beef. The aroma alone will have some stomach growling, I know that for sure. The kitchen fills with beautiful smells that bring everyone in to see what's cooking!
Let's have a taste!
Indeed, there is a wonderful richness that comes from all the ingredients blended together and that makes this Polpettone so luxurious. The white wine brings a bit of fruity acidity that works so well to spike all the flavors: the sweetness from the ricotta, cinnamon, and mortadella, the nuttiness from the pistachios, the sharpness of the Parmigiano, just to mention a few. All these flavors will play with your taste buds with balance, poise, and unity, to make this Polpettone an all-around delicious recipe. Loreto is quick to get some bread and grace it with a nice plump piece of the great Italian classic and as usual, adding his quick humor to say "Now that's one very good meatta ball"!
Ultimately, if you want to change things up a bit and present to the table a different version of a family favorite, try this Polpettone (Italian meatloaf) with Mortadella and Ricotta, you won't be disappointed.
It truly is delicious!
- 500 g organic extra lean ground beef
- 100 g (4-5 slices) Italian Mortadella shredded
- 90 g (⅓ cup) Ricotta
- 50g (½ cup) grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 large egg, organic free-range
- 15 g (a large handful) pistachios, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 pinch garlic powder
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup of stale crustless bread (broken up into small pieces) soaked in⅛ cup milk
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs for topping
- ¼ cup white wine
- evo oil for finishing
- Pre-heat oven to 375° F (190° C).
- In a big bowl mix ground beef, shredded mortadella, ricotta, grated Grana Padano, egg, chopped pistachio, parsley, garlic powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
- Squeeze milk-soaked bread and add to the mixture. Discard milk. Mix well first with a wooden spoon then with your hands until well incorporated.
- Form into a large oval on a plate and coat with breadcrumbs all over completely coating the polpettone.
- Drizzle olive oil at the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish, gently place the polpettone in. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and pour wine all around the polpettone and into the dish. Do not pour the wine on top of the polpettone.
- Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, basting it once or twice with the juices from the dish to keep it moist. Do this until a meat thermometer placed in the middle of the thickest part reads 165° F.
- Take out o the oven and let sit 10 minutes before cutting.
- Slice and serve with your favorite side dish.
Recommended side dishes: roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, sauteed greens (kale, spinach, broccoli rabe, cicoria), and/or a fresh salad.
Any leftovers, the next day make for a great sandwich (panino).
Keep any leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Category: Main, Meat
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
I love baking and kneading dough because it takes me to a happy place in my soul.