The Polpettone All’aretina or meat loaf from Arezzo. We are at the beach and this is how we make sandwich for 21.
A Meatloaf from the Arezzo Region
We all have a favorite meatloaf that our mothers made and passed down to us. The recipe is as sacred as the one for sauce and meatballs. In Italy things are no different. Every region has their own special recipe for meatloaf. In Arezzo they flavor their meatloaf with fresh mushrooms when in season and dried mushrooms the rest of the time. But, of course, the dried Porcini, give the best flavor. Like most meatloaves, this recipe is also delicious served cold, so excellent for a summer dish.
SERVING: Serves 4-6.
- 8 oz coarse country/Italian bread
- 1 ¼ lb lean ground beef
- Freshly grated nutmer – to taste
- 3 tbs flour
- 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup parmesan cheese – freshly grated
- 1 cup milk
- 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 oz prosciutto – finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Soak the bread in a bowl filled with the milk for 30-40 minutes.
- At the same time, in a separate bowl, soak the dried mushrooms in warm water to cover for the same amount of time. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the bread and place in a large bowl.
- Drain the mushrooms and squeeze out the excess moisture, chop them and toss in the bowl with the bread. Add the beef, eggs, Parmesan cheese, prosciutto and nutmeg and season to taste.
- Mix gently with your hands so as not to mash and shape the mixture into an oval, easy to manage. Dredge the loaf lightly with the flour. In a roasting pan over moderate heat, warm the olive oil.
- Add the loaf and brown to a light crisp on all sides by carefully turning over.
- When nice and crisp, add half of the wine and place in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 1 hour gradually adding the rest of the wine as the pan starts to become dry.
- Don’t let the pan dry out completely even if it means adding a little more wine. Remove the meat loaf from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Slice and arrange on a serving platter and serve.
- When choosing the white wine for this recipe, as I always do, choose a good wine that you will enjoy drinking while cooking.
If you are fortunate enough to be in Arezzo on the first Sunday of the month, you will want to make your way over to Piazza Grande or the main square. On these Sundays it is a bargain hunter’s paradise. The piazza will be packed with over 500 stalls spilling out onto the city’s streets and alleyways. A typical Sunday has been known to draw a crowd of up to 30,000 visitors all looking for antique items. In the main square you are likely to find items from old Roman coins to pottery, linens and even grandfather clocks. But even during the week you will be able to find treasures in varied local shops that are open all year round.