Are you in the mood for a satisfying and delicious meal that brings together the flavors of Italian cuisine? Look no further than this Easy Italian Meatloaf recipe. Bursting with savory ingredients like ground beef, Italian sausage, herbs, and melted cheese, this meatloaf is a mouthwatering delight that will please your taste buds and leave you craving for more.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of creating this flavorful dish. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is designed to be easy to follow, resulting in a scrumptious meatloaf that will impress your family and friends.
Who is this Recipe For?
This Easy Italian Meatloaf recipe is perfect for anyone who enjoys the rich and robust flavors of Italian cuisine. Whether you’re cooking for your family, hosting a dinner party, or simply looking to indulge in a comforting meal, this recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings.
The combination of ground beef and mild Italian sausage creates a flavorful base, while the aromatic herbs, garlic, and onion add depth to the dish. The addition of melted mozzarella and tangy marinara sauce elevates the meatloaf, giving it a cheesy and zesty finish. With its simple preparation and delectable taste, this recipe is a great option for both weekday dinners and special occasions.
Kitchen Equipment Needed
Before you embark on creating this Easy Italian Meatloaf, make sure you have the following kitchen equipment ready:
- Large skillet
- Mixing bowl
- Baking dish
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
Having these essential tools at your disposal will ensure a smooth cooking process and make it easier to bring this delicious meatloaf to life.
To make this Easy Italian Meatloaf, gather the following ingredients:
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 lb. ground mild Italian sausage
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 C. chopped bell pepper (orange can be used as a substitute)
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. basil
- 1/2 tsp. parsley
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 C. Italian bread crumbs
- 2 slices white bread, crumbled
- 1 T. milk
- 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve 3/4 C. for topping)
- 1/4 C. Parmesan cheese
- 1 C. marinara sauce, plus 1/2 – 3/4 C. more for topping
Ensure that you have these ingredients ready before you begin the cooking process.
Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of creating this mouthwatering Easy Italian Meatloaf:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius).
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the finely chopped onion and bell pepper for 3-4 minutes, or until they become tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, ground Italian sausage, sautéed onion and bell pepper, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, basil, parsley, beaten egg, Italian bread crumbs, crumbled white bread, milk, Parmesan cheese, and shredded mozzarella cheese (reserving 3/4 cup for topping).
Use your hands to thoroughly mix all the ingredients together, ensuring they are evenly combined.
Once the mixture has come together, transfer it to a baking dish of your choice. A 2-inch thick meatloaf works well for this recipe.
Spoon 1/2 to 3/4 cup of marinara sauce on top of the meatloaf, spreading it around to evenly cover the surface.
Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes.
After 50 minutes, remove the meatloaf from the oven and sprinkle the reserved mozzarella cheese on top. Additionally, you can sprinkle a little dry basil for added flavor and presentation.
Return the meatloaf to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
To ensure the meatloaf is thoroughly cooked, check that the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) and that the meat is no longer pink.
Once cooked, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- For a spicier kick, replace the mild Italian sausage with hot Italian sausage.
- If you prefer a milder flavor, you can substitute the Italian sausage with ground pork or beef.
- Customize the meatloaf by adding your favorite vegetables or herbs to the mixture. Chopped mushrooms, grated carrots, or fresh basil are all great options.
- Instead of marinara sauce, you can try topping the meatloaf with homemade tomato sauce or even barbecue sauce for a different twist.
If you find yourself with leftovers (which is unlikely because it’s so delicious!), store the Easy Italian Meatloaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, simply place individual portions in the microwave or reheat in the oven until warmed through.
This recipe also freezes well. Slice the leftover meatloaf, wrap each slice tightly in plastic wrap, and place them in a freezer-safe bag. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Food and Drink Pairings
The Easy Italian Meatloaf pairs wonderfully with a variety of side dishes and beverages. Here are a few recommendations to enhance your dining experience:
- Serve the meatloaf alongside creamy mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables for a well-rounded meal.
- For a lighter option, pair it with a fresh garden salad drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette.
- Complement the flavors with a glass of red wine such as Chianti or Sangiovese.
Experiment with different combinations to find your perfect match!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?
A: Absolutely! Ground turkey is a leaner alternative that works well in this recipe. It will result in a slightly lighter and healthier meatloaf.
Q: Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
A: Yes, you can substitute gluten-free breadcrumbs for the Italian breadcrumbs and use gluten-free bread or breadcrumbs in place of the white bread. Additionally, ensure that the Worcestershire sauce and marinara sauce you use are gluten-free.
Q: How can I prevent the meatloaf from becoming dry?
A: To keep the meatloaf moist, avoid overmixing the ingredients. Overmixing can lead to a denser and drier texture. Additionally, do not overcook the meatloaf; it should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) for optimal juiciness.
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We hope you enjoy making and savoring this Easy Italian Meatloaf recipe as much as we do. Its rich flavors, melty cheese, and aromatic herbs make it a standout dish that will leave everyone asking for seconds.
Don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends and family who appreciate a good homemade meal. For more mouthwatering recipes and cooking inspiration, be sure to subscribe to our blog. Happy cooking!