This was sunset over Rome less than two weeks ago, the sky lighting up with crazy colours that just beggared to be oooh and aaahed over. Quite quite stunning, it had me in transports of delight over the wonder that is the world we live in. I had a glass of wine in my hand and took the time to snap a few photos and then went back to the kitchen to finish off supper, all excited about my novice entry into the world of meatloaf.
I don’t remember ever making meatloaf though I might have many many years ago. I’ve tried my hands at very many recipes. Some families are meatloaf loving families — mine obviously was not. I remember eating meatballs (polpette) as a child, but not meatloaf. And to be honest, I don’t really recall loving meatloaf much either, when I have eaten it at other people’s houses — the meat always a bit ‘dry’ in the mouth and its consistency trapped in a flurry of indecision (“do I want to be firm or do I want to fall apart?”). Not until I was served meatloaf at friends of ours last summer, and the texture and taste of this meatloaf was remarkably zestful, tasty and more-ish. Enquiry revealed that a hint of mortadella was what made it taste so good.
And so I resolved to make one such meatloaf. How hard could it be? yes?
I don’t want to go into it, my pride just can’t take it. All I will admit to is … that it was disaster. It was one of those “what a beautiful catastrophe!” à la Zoraba the Greek. Take a look for yourselves.
I started out right … browning the loaves in the heavy pan, over a soffritto.
And then things went from bad to worse … Finally, I could take it no more … and so removed some of the erstwhile meatloaf meat … And finished cooking it in a non stick pan. Basically, I had made a meatloaf frittata!!! oh woe is me! O me misera!
Thankfully it tasted all right but I am still smarting from the ignominy of it all. It will be a long time before I attempt another meatloaf!
But of course I still had quite a lot of aspiring meatloaf meat still to be dealt with the following day and I was damned if I was going to go down the meatloaf frittata route again. So, aha!, a spell of genius came over me. I would turn that grotty looking meat into something very very heart warming: a cottage pie! (Shepherd’s Pie is put together from leftover lamb from the Sunday joint, traditionally, and served as a family meal in the week …. whereas Cottage Pie was made with minced beef rather than lamb).
I put the minced beef into an oven dish … Smothered it in mashed potatoes …I garlanded it with a row of tomatoes cut in half. I dotted chunks of mozzarella all over the place and added some sprigs of rosemary.
A good drizzle of olive oil (always olive oil) …. And in it went into an oven (I presume at 200°C … that’s usually a good temperature) … for about 35-40 minutes. What can I say … my culinary face was saved …And I have invented a new dish/recipe: Cottage Pie à l’Italienne!
“What a beautiful catastrophe!”
Remember that one? It’s a quote from https://myhomefoodthatsamore.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/what-to-seek-in-zorba-the-greek/