Meatloaf Involtini (Italian Stuffed Meatloaf) recipe

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The dish is not difficult to make, yet looks quite impressive. The only tricky part is the rolling. I find that if you pretend it is a giant sushi roll and use the “tuck and roll” technique with some parchment paper, it usually works out pretty well.

Another little trick I’ve found is that after the meatloaf has been rolled and is in position on the baking sheet, I trim away the excess parchment paper, leaving the portion that the loaf is resting on. Then, I bake the meatloaf right on the parchment. This prevents the baking sheet from getting all crusty and burned.  It also makes moving the meatloaf to a serving platter or storage container a snap. Just lift up the ends of the parchment and slide! Once your meatloaf has reached it’s destination, pull out the parchment and throw it away.   Clever, huh?

Let's make some meatloaf!


The recipe makes a big honkin' meatloaf!  However, like all meatloaves, this one gets even better with age. So, go ahead and make the whole recipe. The leftovers make a great sandwich or filling for stuffed shells!


Meatloaf Involtini (Italian Stuffed Meatloaf)


For the meatloaf:

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large sweet onion, diced

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning blend* (See Note below)

1 lb each of ground chuck, veal and pork

1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs, regular or panko

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups tomato sauce

For the filling:

1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs, regular or panko

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup minced parsley

3 cloves minced garlic

3 tablespoons pine nuts

1 egg, beaten

1/4 pound hot capicola, sliced thinly

1/4 pound prosciutto, sliced thinly

1 large fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add butter and olive oil. When butter is melted and starts to bubble, add onion and sauté for about 5-6 minutes, until onions start to get soft and golden. Add Italian seasoning and sauté 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

3. Prepare the meatloaf by mixing all ingredients, except tomato sauce, together in a large bowl until well combined. The meat mixture should be moist, but should hold together. Use your judgment. If it seems a little too wet, add a little more bread crumbs. If it seems too dry, add a tablespoon or two more of the milk.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving at least 2 extra inches hanging over each end. Spread the meat out onto the baking sheet, and flatten it, gently nudging it outward until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

5. In a small bowl, mix the first 6 filling ingredients together until it resembles a dry paste. Rub the mixture a little with your fingers to release the flavors. Spread paste evenly on top of meat, leaving a 2-inch border at each end. Layer the capicola, prosciutto and mozzarella on top.

6. Take hold of the parchment paper on one end and very carefully begin to roll up the meatloaf. Use the paper to help, gently tucking the meat under as you roll. Pinch the seams a bit to seal any openings in the meat. Carefully rotate the meatloaf one-quarter turn so that it is lying lengthwise on the pan. Trim away the parchment paper until you have just a rectangle about 2 inches wider and longer than the meatloaf. This will help you remove the meatloaf to a serving platter or storage container later.

7. Pour 2 cups of the tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf. Reserve the rest for later.

8. Bake for approximately 90 minutes, until nicely browned. You want to make sure the internal temperature of the meatloaf is 160 degrees F., as that is the optimal for safe, yet moist and juicy ground beef. You will need to use a meat thermometer to check for this.

9. Slice and serve with reserved tomato sauce.

*Note:  If you can't find an Italian seasoning blend or would prefer to make your own, you can do so as follows:

Italian Seasoning Blend

2 tablespoons dried basil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried marjoram

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

1 teaspoon thyme

Combine all the ingredients in an empty spice jar or a small resealable container.


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When I was a kid, I considered it a treat when meatloaf showed up on the menu at our house. Meatloaf isn't a typical Italian dish, and my family was typically Italian, so we didn't have meatloaf often. When my mother did make it, she did so the only way she knew how - like a big, giant, loaf-shaped meatball! That's right. Mom would just take all of the ingredients that she usually put in her famous (to me, anyway) meatballs and make a meatloaf instead. Pretty smart, actually, because forming a whole bunch of meatballs is a lot more labor intensive than just molding a huge hunk of chopped meat into one loaf. Instead of the traditional ketchup topping, she would drizzle some marinara sauce on top. Dad was from the "old country" and ketchup was just not his thing.

The other thing I remember about Mom's meatloaf was that she strategically placed several hard boiled eggs inside before baking it. We kids all fought over those eggs! Getting one in your slice was like finding the prize in a box of Cracker Jack. Even though you knew they were in there, finding one was still kind of fun. I don't know. Maybe those meatloaves of days gone by spawned my affinity for hiding tasty little surprises in otherwise unassuming food.

I created this recipe for Meatloaf Involtini a couple of years ago for National Meatloaf Appreciation Day, sponsored by Serious Eats. Don't let the fancy name scare you. Involtini are nothing more than little meat roll-ups filled with various ingredients. Traditionally, they are made with slices of beef or veal.  I figured I could use the same concept for a meatloaf. So instead of hard boiled eggs, I stuff my meatloaf with garlic, herbs, pine nuts and an assortment of Italian cured meats and cheeses. The loaf is rolled up “jelly roll style” and baked in a little shower of tomato sauce. 

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