Individual meat loaves make this family favorite accessible for a weeknight dinner. The meat mixture also makes excellent meatballs. The unusual ingredient here is the ricotta. Italians love their ricotta, and, added to this recipe, it makes the meat loaves tender and moist. With the mushrooms, this is a complete meal, but adding some mashed potatoes would please everyone, I am sure. Or feel free to add other vegetables along with the mushrooms- onion, celery, carrots, zucchini, or even peas.
Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
- 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 3 scallions, including green parts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons, chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or pecorino
- 12 ounces ground beef
- 12 ounces ground pork
- Kosher salt
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 sprigs fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the bread crumbs, milk, egg, scallions, parsley, ricotta, and Grana Padano in a large bowl. Stir until smooth. Add the beef and pork, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the nutmeg. Mix with your hands to combine and form into four 4-inch-long mini-meat loaves.
Spread some flour in a shallow bowl for dredging. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Dredge the meat loaves lightly in flour, and add to the skillet. Brown all over, about 5 minutes. Scatter the mushrooms between the meat loaves. Cook and stir until they begin to brown and wilt, about 5 minutes. Pour the marinara over the meat loaves, and add 1/2 cup water. Press the basil sprigs into the sauce.
Cover, and bake until it’s bubbling, about 15 minutes. Uncover, bake until the meat loaves are crusty and cooked through, about 15 minutes more, remove the basil sprigs, and serve.