Italian Meatloaf (Polpettone di Carne)

Mary Ann Esposito

Is there such a thing as Italian meat loaf? Yes, but not cloaked in ketchup, oozing cheddar cheese and accompanied by mashed potatoes. Italian meat loaf (polpettone) means meat roll or meat ball and recipes vary by region. In Emilia Romagna ground beef, pancetta, cinnamon and nutmeg are typical ingredients. While in Tuscany, ground veal, carrots and onions are frequent ingredients and in Rome, lamb, eggs, white wine and celery are popular. My mother insisted that beef, veal and pork gave the best flavor, and I have taken a little liberty with her recipe and started my own meat loaf tradition.



1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 medium baking potatoes, cooked, peeled and riced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 cup grated carrots

6 thin slices prosciutto di Parma or boiled ham
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a bowl combine the beef, pork, potatoes, eggs, garlic, salt, parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and carrots. Do not over mix or the texture will be tough.

Transfer the mixture to a large sheet of parchment paper and flatten the meat into a 14 x 10 inch rectangle with wet hands or lay a sheet of wax paper over the meat and flatten with a rolling pin.

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