I start a lot of posts off by talking about how I’m a picky eater and never liked eating food XX until I tried making it this way and blah blah blah. I promise you it’s all true too – and it seems this is another one of those recipes. It’s actually probably one of my first recipes that I created all on my own by experimenting with different ideas from different sources and combining them all together in order to “fix” a dish that I just didn’t really like eating.
You see, meatloaf in my family and in my friends families was typically just ground beef mixed with a packet of dry onion soup mix and sometimes a little ketchup for flavor. It was often served very well cooked (dry) with a huge dollop of ketchup on the side (for flavor and moisture), and there you have it – icky meatloaf. I am not a big onion fan. I don’t know why, I just don’t like them. So as you can imagine this was one of those dishes that I spent my childhood dreading and I spent many dinners at friend’s houses taking large bites and trying to swallow them whole with a nice tall glass of water…
…and then it happened….
One day I decided that I could do this better. I was maybe 19 or 20 years old, living on my own, and watching the Food Network Channel. My meals were largely Ramen Soup and some other cheap foods since I was putting myself through college and was ridiculously broke. That day though, I saw Rachel Ray make some hamburgers by “stuffing” them with provolone cheese and a slice of prosciutto. Now, I don’t remember why this got me thinking about meatloaf, but I remember that the concept of stuffing a meat really stuck with me. A few days later I was at a friend’s house and his mom had made meatballs for dinner. Delicious meatballs. Meatballs soo delicious that it would have been amazing to just have one really huge meatball that you could really dig into…..and then it hit me! I would make a meatloaf that is really just a large, jumbo meatball! AND THEN, I would take this really large, jumbo meatball – and I would stuff it with the provolone and prosciutto from the hamburger idea for even more delicious yumminess!
I actually had to wait a while to make my first attempt. It’s funny to look back on it now, it sounds soo ridiculous, but I actually had to wait to make this meal until I got my income tax return to try cooking this the first time. Ground beef and ground pork weren’t in my price range at the time, let alone provolone and prosciutto! It was well worth the wait though, and I have tweaked it over the years until I got it just right. The best part is, I like to split the meat mixture in half and make meatballs out of the other half! You do a bit of work one day, and get TWO dishes out of it! I’ll type up the meatball directions in a few days for you to see how to do it!
Ok, so now after my longest recipe intro ever….bring on the Mega Meatloaf!!
1 lb Ground Beef
1 lb Ground Pork
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Romano Cheese
1.5 TBSP Parsley
salt/pepper to taste
2 cups Bread Crumbs
1 1/2 cup warm water
12 slices Prosciutto
12 slices Provolone Cheese
The first thing you need to do is combine the meat, eggs, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add about a third of the breadcrumbs and mix it in, then about a third of the water and mix it in fully. Do this two more times until all of the breadcrumbs are incorporated – though you have to make a judgement call on the water. You might need a little more or a little less, depending on how moist your ground meats were. You want the meat mixture to be firm enough to hold its shape. Too dry and it will break apart, too wet and it will just be a sloppy mess.
Once your meat is mixed together, you get to start forming your loaf.
(If you want to split this recipe in half and make meatballs too, here is where you divide it – just toss half into a covered bowl in the fridge and roll the meatballs later. Check back here for my recipe on how to cook them up.)
Lay out a few sheets of wax paper on a large surface. I like to use my kitchen tabletop and tape a few sheets of wax paper together to make it wider. Lightly spray your wax paper with Pam spray and then pour your meat mixture on top of it. Flatten it out as best as you can with your hands and then you can put another sheet of wax paper on top of it and use a rolling pin – what you want to do is make it into a large rectangular-ish shape that is as flat and as even as possible.
The prosciutto comes next. Layer out all the slices you have across the flattened meat mixture, making sure to leave space around all of the borders for a good seal later.
And you’re going to do the same exact thing with the provolone too. Layer it on there right on top of the prosciutto.
Now you need to roll up your meat into your loaf. Just as you would for a pinwheel or a stromboli or a wrap.
This was really hard to photograph, but what you need to do is, starting from one edge, grab the wax paper underneath the meat and fold the corner of the meat tightly in upon itself. Roll it in and start to work your way across the entire meat spread, gently pulling the wax paper out of the crimped roll as you go.
Roll the entire way this way until your roll is a nice long log with some flappy looking edges.
See the edges? Next step is to get your fingers in there and seal off those edges as best as you can. Start with the inner most layer and seal it off, then pick another layer and close that one off too. Keep going until you have a nicely closed off, rounded edge.
I like to plastic wrap my loaves at this point and toss it in the fridge for an hour or so. I feel like it helps the flavors combine more, but you can cook this immedietly just as easily. The nice thing is, if you are in a time crunch, you can do this up to a day before the actual cooking and keep it in the fridge. It’s a nice time saver!
From here on out the directions are pretty basic. Bake at 375 for a total of 90 minutes. Bake it covered for the first 60 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for half an hour to let the outside brown up. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing into it so the cheese doesn’t ooze out on you too much and dig in!