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Sicilian Meatloaf is a Comfort Food Classic

Sicilian Meatloaf, known as polpettone in Sicily, features a range of ingredients that depends on who's cooking it. This version, from the new book The Food of Sicily, features ham, provolone, greens, and hard-boiled eggs. Here's how to make it.

Polpettone

Polpettone or Italian meatloaf. Excerpted from The Food of Sicily by Fabrizia Lanza (Artisan Books). Photographs by Guy Ambrosino. Copyright © 2023.

Few people are better qualified to talk Sicilian food than Fabrizia Lanza, who grew up in a Sicilian winemaking family and who now runs a cooking school founded by her mother. She also writes books, including the fabulous new volume The Food of Sicily: Recipes from a Sun-Drenched Culinary Crossroads, which includes this Sicilian meatloaf dish known as polpettone.

Food of Sicily cover
The Food of Sicily, a book by Fabrizia Lanza

You won’t find polpettone in a Sicilian restaurant—it’s definitely home cooking, and every region and cook has their own version. This one is stuffed with thin slices of ham and provolone, cooked greens, and hard-boiled eggs, resulting in a meatloaf slice that is rich and as beautiful as a peacock’s feather. The well-seasoned meatloaf mixture itself, without the stuffing, can also be shaped and cooked as meatballs.

Sicilian Meatloaf

Sicilian Meatloaf

Recipe by Fabrizia Lanza
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: MainCuisine: Sicilian, Italian
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

35

minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Meatloaf Mixture
  • 5 slices 5 firm white sandwich bread (about 4½ ounces/125 g)

  • 2 tablespoons 2 whole milk

  • 2 2 ¼ pounds (1 kg) ground beef or a mixture of ground beef and ground pork

  • 4 large 4 eggs

  • 1 small 1 yellow onion, very finely chopped or grated on a box grater

  • 1 cup 1 (120 g) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino cheese

  • 1 tablespoon 1 finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 1 tablespoon 1 finely chopped fresh mint

  • 2 teaspoons 2 fine sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon 1 freshly ground black pepper

  • For Assembly
  • 3 3 ½ ounces (100 g) prosciutto cotto or boiled ham, very thinly sliced

  • ½ cup (100 g) boiled, drained, and chopped mustard greens, Swiss chard, or spinach

  • 3 3 ½ ounces (100 g) mild provolone cheese or primo sale, very thinly sliced

  • 4 large 4 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Make the meatloaf mixture: Cut off and discard the crusts of the sandwich bread. Cut the bread into small cubes and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle the milk on top and toss to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the ground beef, eggs, onion, Parmigiano, parsley, mint, salt, and pepper to the moistened bread. Using your hands, knead and squeeze the ingredients together until they are thoroughly incorporated.
  • Assemble the meatloaf: Gather up the meat mixture and place it on a large sheet of parchment paper. Use your hands to flatten the mixture into a 12-by-16-inch (30 by 40 cm) rectangle about ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Set the rectangle with a long side facing you.
  • Lay the ham slices over the meat mixture, covering it almost completely from edge to edge. Distribute the cooked greens evenly over the ham and then top with the cheese slices. Place the hard-boiled eggs end to end in a row running lengthwise down the center. Using the parchment paper to help, lift and wrap the meat, like a jelly roll, over the eggs, and keep rolling until it forms a large sausage. Press the ends together to seal the fillings inside. Transfer the meatloaf to the prepared sheet pan, discarding the parchment used to roll it.
  • Bake the meatloaf for 30 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 475°F (250°C) and roast until the outside is browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before slicing.
  • Arrange the slices on a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

Notes

  • The meatloaf can be assembled, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerated for up to 6 hours before baking.
  • Excerpted from The Food of Sicily by Fabrizia Lanza (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2023. Photographs by Guy Ambrosino.

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