Sheepish in Meatloaf Battle or … Cottage Pie à l’Italienne

IMG_1523 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.

IMG_1538I started out right …  browning the loaves in the heavy pan, over a soffritto.
IMG_1542 And then things went from bad to worse …IMG_1543 Finally, I could take it no more … and so removed some of the erstwhile meatloaf meat …IMG_1545 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).

IMG_1584 I put the minced beef  into an oven dish …IMG_1585 Smothered it in mashed potatoes …IMG_1586I 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.
IMG_1587 A good drizzle of olive oil (always olive oil) ….IMG_1588 IMG_1592 And in it went into an oven (I presume at 200°C … that’s usually a good temperature) … for about 35-40 minutes.IMG_1594 IMG_1595 What can I say … my culinary face was saved …IMG_1596And I have invented a new dish/recipe: Cottage Pie à l’Italienne!
IMG_1597“What a beautiful catastrophe!”

Remember that one? It’s a quote from

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Basic Techniques, Herbs and plants, italian home food, Secondi (main course, usually meat based), Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Sheepish in Meatloaf Battle or … Cottage Pie à l’Italienne

  1. Always nice to rescue something 🙂 I’ve never made a meatloaf either, but I would imagine it’s cooked in the oven and then won’t fall apart so easily? Adding mortadella is definitely a good idea — I’ve actually done an improvised recipe for a snack that was ground chicken with some prosciutto, mortadella, egg, and sage in pastry dough and it came out very good.

    • In Italy a lot of meats are cooked on the stove top (arrosto morto) … and I was trying to cook the disastrous meatloaf by adding some brodo (stock) a little at a time. I think my big mistake was in adding too much bread dunked in milk to the meatloaf … I should have squeezed the bread more, and used less. Something like that. It tasted all right, though, phew!

  2. I love it when a culinary disaster is averted! I’ve made meatloaf a couple of times in my youth and never really liked the texture – usually too dry. From what I remember, it was packed into a loaf tin and baked..

  3. And that sunset is absolutely gorgeous!

  4. Ha…made me laugh! Great rescue though! Yup…meatloaf…baked, not browned on top of the stove first…you can make all sorts of delicious ones, hot, cold…I do make them, usually a couple of times a year….and I do like them! Cottage pie is lovely and I made one not two weeks ago! My usual quick go-to, unless I’m feeling terribly inspired is this one. You can change things up to suit…but this is my basic. And substituting pancetta on top…probably would be great! 23 days and counting bella!

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