This Italian style meatloaf is comfort food all the way. With Italian flavors like pancetta, basil, Parmesan and lots of marinara sauce, this meatloaf tastes like the best giant meatball.
I recently learned that there is a traditional Italian meatloaf recipe, they call it ‘polpettone’. I learned this after writing my recipe and was hoping that I wouldn’t offend the Italians by calling it ‘Italian style’ but I think I may be safe now 😉
Meatloaf is very popular in my house at this time of year and my go-to is my pork, apple and sage meatloaf and I thought it was time for a new meatloaf recipe. Bolognese sauce and cheese stuffed meatballs are also in regular rotation for dinners (can you tell my husband is Italian?) and these were all inspiration for this Italian style meatloaf.
I’ve created a video so you can see the recipe being made. Just press play!
This meatloaf is all beef with a little pancetta, carrots, celery, onion and garlic that is cooked and cooled before adding to the beef. This does 2 things, you get a lot of flavor into the meatloaf and this cooks the vegetables because I have found they just don’t cook all the way in the meatloaf.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 6 ounces yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 ounces carrot, finely chopped
- 3 ounce celery, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup (1 slice) bread, lightly toasted then ground into breadcrumbs in the food processor
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 2 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To a sauté pan add the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta, onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Cook until the vegetables soften and the pancetta slightly crisp. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
To a mixing bowl add the breadcrumbs and milk, and leave for until all the breadcrumbs have soaked up the milk.
Once the pancetta mix is cool, add the ground beef, bread and milk mix, Parmesan, oregano, basil, egg, salt and pepper and ¾ cup marinara sauce. Mix until everything is well combined.
Turn out onto the baking sheet and mold into a meatloaf shape, about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide. Top with the remaining ¾ cup marinara sauce.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until a thermometer when inserted into the center reaches 165 degrees F.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with extra marinara sauce