Maybe that's what might cross your mind, especially when you're having five of your food loving friends over for dinner. Meatloaf. Isn't that something your mom cooked the hell out of when you were a kid? Not exactly haut cuisine, n'est pas? That why if I'm talkin' meatloaf, then you can bet your ass I'm upping the ante. Luckily I have in the food files a really awesome, fancy-schmancy stuffed meatloaf, a Mario Batali recipe that was in Food and Wine Magazine some time ago. This absolutely rocks, not only tasting great, but presents beautifully, the slices of meat showing off the spinach-prosciutto-provolone-carrot stuffing. Who wouldn't crave ground beef and pork with a little prosciutto? I mean really?! Add some sides of garlic mashed potatoes (where w's only instruction was "with lots of garlic!") and some bright Swiss chard from the Farmer's Market and you'll be set. Oh yeah, and maybe a bottle or five of good vino! This is a really easy recipe, that like I said, looks (and tastes) fantastic!
Assembling the meaty goodness before the rollup!
A done deal, ready for the table.
Meat Loaf Stuffed with Prosciutto and Spinach
from F and W: This luxurious yet easy take on classic meat loaf gets stuffed with spinach, carrots, prosciutto and cheese. The vegetables can be leftovers, says Batali: "Just make sure they're cooked long enough to be very soft—if they're al dente, the meat loaf will tear when you slice it and wreck your day" Mild and tangy caciocavallo cheese, made in Italy from cow's milk, is excellent in the filling, but provolone is a fine substitute.
* 2 large carrots, each cut lengthwise into 6 slices
* 4 cups spinach (3 ounces), thick stems discarded
* 2 pounds lean ground beef
* 2 pounds ground pork
* 2 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
* 2 cups freshly grated pecorino cheese (6 ounces)
* 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 10-12 thin slices of prosciutto (4 ounces)
* 10 1/8-inch-thick slices caciocavallo or provolone cheese
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 sprigs of rosemary
* 2 cups dry red wine
* 1-1/2 cup water
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the carrots until tender, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook just until wilted; drain well and add to the carrots.
2. In a large bowl, combine the beef with the pork, 2 cups of the bread crumbs, the pecorino, eggs, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper; mix well with your hands.
3. Line a work surface with a 15-inch-long sheet of plastic wrap. In a bowl, mix the flour with the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs. Sprinkle half of the crumb mixture all over the plastic wrap. Transfer half of the meat loaf mixture to the plastic and press it into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Lay half of the spinach leaves over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border on the short sides. Arrange half of the carrots over the spinach, and top with half the prosciutto and sliced cheese. Starting from the long end of the plastic wrap closest to you, tightly roll up the meat loaf, tucking in the filling and using the plastic wrap to guide you; discard the plastic. Repeat with another 15-inch sheet of plastic and the remaining bread crumbs, meat mixture, spinach, carrots, prosciutto and cheese. Drizzle each meat loaf with 2 tablespoons of oil.
4. Put the rosemary sprigs in the bottom of a broiler pan and pour in the red wine. Cover with the broiler pan grate. Set the meat loaves about 2 inches apart on the grate. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes. Turn the broiler pan around and pour the water through the grate. Continue baking for about 35 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of each meat loaf registers 155°.
5. Transfer the meat loaves to a carving board and cover loosely with foil. Discard any cheese from the bottom of the pan and strain the pan juices into a small saucepan. Boil the pan juices over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour into a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper.
6. Using a serrated knife, slice the meat loaves 1 inch thick and serve, passing the pan juices at the table.
MAKE AHEAD: The unbaked meat loaves can be refrigerated overnight. Let return to room temperature before baking.