Tuesday, February 16, 2016

MEATLOAF STUFFED WITH SPINACH and PEPPER JACK CHEESE


This meatloaf is stuffed with cheese and a thin layer of spinach then wrapped and topped with a rich mushroom tomato sauce, I like to serve it with mashed potatoes and another vegetable for a well balanced meal.

FOR MEATLOAF
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions (thinly sliced)
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian fennel sausage (removed from casing)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (freshly grated, 6 ounces)
2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 pound pepper jack cheese (sliced)
1/2 cup spinach (chopped, stems removed)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

MUSHROOM TOMATO SAUCE
1 pound cremini mushrooms (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 recipe Mario's Basic Tomato Sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

How to make it:
Preheat oven to 350ºF
In a large sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions start to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat to low, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onions are brown and caramelized, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, add the beef, sausage, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, eggs, dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and mix to combine.
On a baking sheet with parchment paper lined with plastic wrap, add the meatloaf mixture in a 12-by-10-inch rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick. Add an even layer of  spinach leaves then cheese, top with an even layer of caramelized onions. Starting from the long end of the plastic wrap closest to you, tightly roll up the meat loaf, tucking in the filling and using the plastic wrap to guide you. Bring the ends together to seal the meatloaf. Discard the plastic. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf reaches 165ºF.
Let cool 15 minutes before slicing into 1-inch pieces. Serve with Mushroom Tomato Sauce over the top.
For Mushroom Tomato Sauce: place a large high-sided sauté pan over high heat. Add the oil and mushrooms. Sauté, stirring frequently, until golden-brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 recipe Mario's Basic Tomato Sauce to the pan. Bring to a simmer and set aside.

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