Italian American Meatloaf

serves: 10 or more

One would think that meatloaf is very American, but its origins are actually in a German colonial dish of minced pork mixed with cornmeal. Italians serve it a lot as well, and in this rendition the cultures blend deliciously with the addition of a pestata, a paste of carrots, celery, and onions. Not only does the meatloaf taste delicious, but it is foolproof, moist every time. The leftovers reheat as if just cooked, and Italians love to serve it with roasted potato wedges.

2 cups cubes of country bread with crust
1 cup milk
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
2 medium stalks celery, cut into chunks
1½ pounds ground beef
1½ pounds ground pork
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup marinara sauce or pureed canned tomatoes, (see online recipe)
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the bread cubes in a medium bowl, and pour the milk over them. Let the bread soak until it is soft. Meanwhile, combine the carrots, celery, and onion in a food processor, and pulse to make a fine- textured paste or pestata.

When the bread is soft, squeeze out the excess milk and put the bread in a large mixing bowl. Mix the pestata, ground meats, scallions, grated cheese, marinara sauce, parsley, salt, and oregano with the bread, using your hands to distribute all of the ingredients evenly. Oil a 10- by- 15- inch Pyrex or ceramic baking dish with the olive oil. Form the meat mixture into a loaf in the oiled pan.

Place in the oven, and bake until browned and cooked through (the center of the meatloaf should read 165 degrees F on an instant- read thermometer), about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.