I did it to you again readers. I've been gone for a couple of weeks to London and Paris and left you with a couple of recipes that posted automatically. But I'm back and ready to blog about some of my adventures - food and otherwise. But meat loaf? In London?
Yes, meat loaf in London -- and Italian meat loaf too. Why Italian meatloaf? Well, mortadella has something to do with it. It's a recipe of my dear (and late) friend Alessandra, whose daughter Mariana lives in London. I stayed with Mariana and her family while there. One night she prepared this meatloaf recipe that I recreated at home, a dish that brings back fond memories of a beautiful and loving friend.
If you knew Mariana, you'd wonder how this vibrant wife and mother of four, professor and economist even has time to cook. The night I arrived, she was headed to a meeting at Parliament, then was whisked by car to the BBC where she was being interviewed about the Eurozone problems. Did I want to tag along? Duh, no brainer.
Needless to say, the meatloaf did not appear that night. That night, we made do with hors d'oeuvres and drinks served at the House of Commons. Not too shabby.
For the two weeks I was in Europe, Mariana was interviewed by the BBC several times, as well as by Al Jazeera. To see her in action, talking about Italy's debt problem, check out this video.
The rest of my trip was heavy on the cultural side and London's misty, damp weather gave me little incentive to stay outdoors, even though I detoured to a couple of the city's beautiful parks. But London is a veritable cornucopia of museums, and I was on overload, visiting six of them, starting with a blockbuster exhibit at the National Gallery on Leonardo DaVinci's paintings, the first time so many have been together in one place.
From DaVinci to a dynamite retrospective on Gerhard Richter at the Tate Modern, there were more museums to see than I had days in the city.
But culture takes other forms too, and I partook of them all - ballet and opera at Covent Garden, a concert at St. Martin's in the Field and a thoughtful, insightful play by Arthur Miller (Broken Glass) in London's theater district too.
Stay with me for future posts and recipes from the city on the Thames - and Paris too. But for now, enjoy the meatloaf - Italian style. And a photo of Mariana and Carlo's totally enchanting and adorable children. Ciao Micol, Sophia Leon and Luce!! Baci.. Abbracci....
For eight people
2 1/2 pounds ground meat (I used a mixture of beef, pork and veal)
4 large slices of sturdy bread, soaked in milk, crusts trimmed
2 T. chopped parsley
3 T. parmesan cheese
1 lemon (juice of half and peel of the entire lemon)
1/3 pound mortadella, minced or ground (I have a meat grinder but you can chop it finely by hand.)
1 shot glass of Marsala wine
breadcrumbs to cover the top
Squeeze the milk from the bread, after it's been soaking for a while. Mix the bread with the meat, eggs, parsley, cheese, salt, pepper, lemon and mortadella. Shape into a loaf, and place it into an oiled ovenproof baking dish. Pour a shot glass of marsala over the meatloaf, then cover with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for one hour to one hour and a half, depending on the size of the pan and thickness of the meatloaf.