Saturday, November 19, 2011

Italian Meatloaf In London

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....

Alessandra's Meatloaf

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
3 eggs
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.)
salt, pepper
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.
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Claudia said...

I love London and spent many weeks there back in the day of Skytrain - $100 one-way ticket from NYC! No frills and I didn't care. Fun - you should post this - I am making Paul Italian meatloaf tomorrow (Sunday) thinking he has had enough pasta during his week in Italy. I never thought Broken Glass got the attention it deserved. So much goodness in this post - so much to take in.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That is a lovely recipe! Comfort food of that kind is so enjoyable.



Stacey Snacks said...

You get around lady! Can't wait to hear about Paris, and happy you got to try Ottolenghi! I love his books. xo

Sheryll And Critters. said...

Oh Linda, what a great trip for you. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

I am going to make a small, one pound meatloaf today, but I have no Mortedella or Marsalla wine..... wishing I did.

Wondering if I can somewhat copy your wonderful recipe by using some chopped Salami and olives instead?

I have on my wish list or bucket list, a hand meat grinder (small) and a mandoline. Buying ground pork here to me is ugh, too much fat. Whice reminds me, do you grind all your meat or do you purchase already ground? If store bought ground, what percentage of fat do you use?

I am going to bake some sweet potato fries to go with my meatloaf and maybe some roasted Cauliflower? I have had a broken wrist and other stuff going a bit wrong.

Glad to hear about your trip. I still read everything you write even if I don't answer all the time.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Sheryll - The salami would be too overpowering. Mortadella is closer to bologna in texture, but the flavor is a little spicier with some pistachios in it. So I'd add a few pistachios to the mix if you have them, bologna and maybe a dash of paprika. Don't worry about the marsala. If you have some sherry, that could be substituted. I grind my own meat most of the time, using an attachment to my Kitchenaid mixer, but I've been known to buy the 3-meat mix at the market too. I do like the leaner cuts, and in this case, you don't lose much flavor because of all the other ingredients. Good luck with your meatloaf and your side dishes sound perfect.

dm said...

Did you see the tent city? It's a shame you didn't let us know about Mariana being on the BBC, I would have watched her. Did you notice that Big Ben is now leaning? I'm glad you enjoyed London, it's a wonderful city in the middle of little villages.

AdriBarr said...

Hi Linda, What a great post - I love the idea of Polpettone at this time of year, and this one sounds like a must try. Thanks a bunch, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Gracie said...

Can't wait to be back in London next january!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

How exciting it must have been to accompany Mariana on her distinguished professional rounds in London! Her children are so adorable.

I have yet to visit Rngland, but that situation might change next year ;) I know I'll be in museum overload when I go, but I'll enjoy every second as you did, Linda!

Your meatloaf looks like wonderful comfort food and I like the idea of pouring over a little marsala wine on top before baking.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I wish there was an "edit" button for comments as that would have read "England" in my first comment ... lol

PS: What opera did you see and was if difficult to get tickets or did you order in advance?

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - Pat - I knew what you meant, even with the misspelling. I saw "La Sonnambula" and it was terrific - much better than the confusing, terrible production at the Met a couple of years ago. I ordered tickets from the U.S. ahead of time - not difficult, but expensive.

Sue/the view from great island said...

Hi Linda---I linked to you today on my blog, I used your stove-top tart dough! I'm having a giveaway, so stop by!