MARCELLA’S TUSCAN MEATLOAF WITH WILD MUSHROOMS (for four)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 square piece of good-quality white bread, crust removed
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped prosciutto or pancetta
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
¾ cup fine, dry unflavored bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup dry, white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ounce imported dried wild mushrooms (porcinis preferred)
1. Put the dried mushrooms in a small bowl with 2 cups of lukewarm water. Let them soak for at least 20 minutes.
2. Put the chopped meat in a bowl, loosening with a fork. Put bread and milk in a small pan. Over medium heat, mash it with a fork until it is creamy. Add it to the meat in the bowl, along with the onion, salt, pepper, chopped prosciutto, grated cheese and garlic. Mix gently but thoroughly by hand until all ingredients have been incorporated into the meat. Add the egg yolk, mixing it into the other ingredients. Shape meat into a firmly packed ball. Place ball on a flat surface and roll it into a salami-like loaf about 2-1/2 inches thick. Roll the loaf in the bread crumbs until it is evenly coated.
3. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the water they were in. Strain the dark liquid through a sieve and set aside. Rinse mushrooms and chop them roughly and set aside.
4. In a heavy-bottomed casserole, over medium heat, heat all the butter and oil. When butter foam subsides, add the meat loaf and brown it well on all sides, handling the meat carefully lest the loaf break up. When the meat has evenly browned, add the wine and raise the heat to medium high. Boil the wine briskly until reduced by half. Turn the loaf carefully once or twice. Turn the heat down to medium and add the chopped mushrooms. Warm up the mushroom liquid in a small pan and stir the tomato paste into it. When the tomato paste is thoroughly diluted, add it to the meat.
5. Cover and cook at a steady simmer, turning and basting once or twice, for 30 minutes.
6. Transfer the meat to a cutting board, allowing it to settle for a few minutes, before cutting it into slices about ¾ inch thick. Spoon sauce over the meat and serve.
adapted from Marcella Hazan, Classic Italian Cookbook