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By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:

Polpettone is Italian meatloaf. It is a classic, delicious dish—always personalized. In fact, every Italian kitchen has its own version. I make Polpettone every time I need comfort food, and it’s perfect to recycle and turn into a fabulous leftover delicacy.

The recipe I’m going to share with you is based on my Grandmother Francesca's Polpettone, using Mortadella and ricotta to add softness and an extra kick of flavor—a luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth slice of Heaven. You can create your own recipe by adding pistachios, pine nuts, other cheeses, a slice of leftover cured ham in the fridge, herbs . . . whatever you want! Polpettone has no rules. Every leftover can be used and turned into a super tasty dish. It is a cheap, rich, and yummy meat dish that kids and grown-ups will love.

This is not your usual meatloaf; it is something special, believe me!

If you eat the leftover slices of Polpettone the day after, try it cold with mayonnaise or ketchup—delicioso!


Serves 6

1/2 lb. (250 g) ground beef

1/2 lb. (250 g) ground pork

1/4 lb. (100 g) shredded Italian Mortadella

1 cup of ricotta

2 oz. (50 g) grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano

1 oz. (30 g) Swiss cheese or provolone, cubed

1 large egg

A pinch of grated nutmeg

Lemon zest

A handful of bread (broken up into small pieces)

1/4 cup milk (for soaking the bread)

Salt and Pepper

Breadcrumbs for topping

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 glass of white wine or more

Preheat the oven at 200° F (190° C)

In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk.

Mix together: ground beef, pork, shredded mortadella, ricotta, grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano, cubed Swiss cheese.

Add the egg, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon, and then with your hands. Form the mixture into a large oval on a wooden board and coat with breadcrumbs. (In Italy, we don't use a mold for the Polpettone—it is a freestyle dish!)

Place in an oven-proof pan, finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Pour the wine in the bottom of the pan. Place the Polpettone in the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, adding a drizzle of wine every once in a while to keep it moist.

When the internal temperature reaches 155° -160° F, take the Polpettone out of the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Slice and serve with salted spinach, roasted or mashed potatoes, peas, or your favorite side dish.


Contessa Ippolita Douglas Scotti di Vigileno is a true Italian—born in Florence, Italy, from a long line of eccentric Italian aristocrats, she has traveled the world in search of adventure, romance, and magical, mouth-watering recipes. "Ippo" loves Italian history, especially as it relates to food. Author of There's a Beatle in My Soup, Curcuma e Zenzero (Ginger & Tumeric), 101 Perche Sulla Storia di Firenze (101 questions on Florence History), and Superfoods, Ippo is currently finishing her latest work, The Lords of Florence (all published by Newton Compton Publishers).

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