I have been seeing this idea on Pinterest, and it was intriguing. DH likes meat loaf, but he loves Italian food, so I thought I’d try to do one. I followed one of the recipes I found, but you all know me, I have to fiddle with it and make it just that much better. I have made a couple of these now, and DH has given them his seal of approval.
As usual, I gathered some ingredients I thought would go well. I have added mushrooms to my recipe, but you could leave these out if you don’t like them.
Here is the first change I made. Instead of cooking the loaf in a loaf pan, I put a rack inside a metal tray and lined the rack with foil. Holes are punched in the foil. This will allow the fat to drain off while it is cooking, since I am using Italian sausage.
I sauteed onions in olive oil, added a bit of butter and then the mushrooms. A bit longer in the pan to cook the mushrooms, then set aside.
Since the Italian sausage is a bit fatty, I used 90% lean ground beef with it.
Using your hands, knead the meats together until they appear homogenous.
Add the bread crumbs, spices and egg, and mix thoroughly.
Add the onions and mushrooms, mix well.
Then add one cup of bottled marinara sauce to the meat.
Form a loaf shape on the foil. Here is the next departure from the other recipes. Form the sides a bit high, and press down in the center to form a well on the top, about 3/4-1 inch deep.
Fill the well with marinara sauce, about 3/4 of a cup, more or less depending on the size of the well.
Top with cheese.
Bake one hour at 350 degrees.
Doesn’t it look good?
Yum, delicious marinara baked in a layer on top, with a thick layer of melted cheese!
Heat the remaining marinara in a saucepan and serve on the slices. That’s Garlic Zucchini on the side, and I’ll share that recipe soon.
I put some sauce on the plate, then add the meat loaf slice, a bit more marinara and a sprinkle of cheese that will melt with just the heat in the dish.
Normally, I like to give you all recipes that serve 2 nicely with little left over. But this one, I promise you will want the leftovers. Not only is it great the next day served the same way, it makes a killer meatloaf sandwich on sourdough bread! Mix a little leftover marinara sauce with the mayo, yum!
Italian Meat Loaf
1-1/4 pound 90% lean ground beef
3/4 pound Italian sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce, divided (I used Prego Fresh Mushroom)
4 ounces grated Italian cheese blend (or mozzarella)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a rack inside a metal tray and place a piece of foil on top. Punch holes in the foil. Spray with no-stick and set aside. Mix beef and sausage until well mixed. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat, add onion and saute until translucent. Add butter and mushrooms, saute about one minute. Add bread crumbs, spices and basil, and egg to meat mixture and mix well. Add onions and mushrooms, mix well. Add one cup of bottled marinara sauce, and mix well. Form into a loaf shape about 5 x 9 inches, and place on the foil-topped rack. Form the sides 3/4-1 inch higher than the middle creating a well in the top of the loaf. Fill with marinara sauce – about 3/4 cup. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees about one hour. Heat the rest of the marinara sauce in a saucepan to serve with the meatloaf. Top each serving with a bit more cheese if desired.
Enjoy!! Do you have a favorite way to make meatloaf?