"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Monday, December 2, 2013

Recipes: Neapolitan Meat Loaf With Tomato Basil Sauce

I rarely use ground meat in my cooking for no good reason other than my wife had some bad experience with hard,dry meatballs in college; and overly bread-crumbed ones in cheap-eats, plastic grape arbor places in Providence and New Haven.  But a good ground sirloin loaf with Italian spices is very fine indeed; and when served with a slow-cooked tomato sauce, it is special.

There is no particular trick to this recipe. The meat loaf takes little time to prepare – only a bit of chopping and mixing – but the tomato sauce somewhat more, for it actually is a stand-alone sauce good for pasta.

Neapolitan Meat Loaf with Tomato Basil Sauce

FOR THE MEAT LOAF

* 1 lb. ground sirloin 80-90 percent lean

* 1 egg

* 2 cups bread crumbs (I make my own.  I cut a good French baguette up into 2” pieces, let them sit for a few days until dry, then put them in a blender or food processor to grind them into crumbs.  If you buy them, be sure they have no added spices or salt)

* 1 lg. bunch parsley, chopped

* 1 small onion, chopped

* 1/2 cup tomato paste

* 1 lg. Tbsp. garlic flakes (these are sometimes hard to find, but do not substitute garlic powder which is too strong)

* 2 tsp. each of dried oregano, rosemary, and basil

* 2 tsp. Worcester sauce

* 5-8 grindings fresh black pepper

- Mix well all the ingredients and mold into a loaf  in a small greased baking pan (one used for small cakes will do fine)

- Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350F

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE

* 1/2 can San Marzano whole tomatoes

* 1/2 can tomato paste

* 4-5 med. cloves garlic, chopped

* 4-5 Tbsp. olive oil

* 1 med. bunch fresh basil, chopped

* 2 tsp. dried basil

* 2 tsp. sugar

* 5-6 grindings fresh black pepper

- Sauté the garlic in the olive oil for about 5-7 minutes or until fragrant and soft

- Add the chopped basil, stir well, and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes

- Add the tomatoes, sugar, and the tomato paste, stir well, and set flame to Simmer

- Simmer the sauce for about 1 1/2 – 2 hrs. or until the sauce is moderately thick.

- Adjust for taste, adding dried basil, salt, and sugar.  Stir well.

COMBINING THE MEAT LOAF AND TOMATO SAUCE

- Slice the meat loaf into 2” (approx.) pieces, remove from baking pan, and place on a serving plate

- Spoon the tomato sauce over the meat and serve.

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