ZEST - FOOD - DRINK

Florentine Meatloaf

2014-02-19T10:15:00Z 2014-02-19T10:25:15Z Florentine MeatloafJane Dunne nwitimes.com
February 19, 2014 10:15 am  • 

Florentine Meatloaf (6 servings)

I would ordinarily, at this time of year, write something about being in the home stretch, spring just around the corner and daylight savings on the horizon. However, the snow outside my window this Presidents Day in Chicago, is blowing at white-out levels. More comfort food is what I crave - spring/schming!

This almost effortless meatloaf is lighter than most and quite lovely when sliced, showing its spinach and cheese filling. It also uses prepared pesto from the supermarket section and panko bread crumbs, both of which add "oompth".

Only five ingredients and no chopping.

Sounds like comfort to me.

(In this very easy and pretty meatloaf, the provolone melts into a nice gooey layer while the fresh spinach balances the richness of the meat and cheese.)

1 (25-ounce) jar tomato sauce, divided

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup prepared basil pesto

1-1/2 pounds veal/pork/beef meatloaf mix

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

3 ounces (3 cups) fresh baby spinach, divided

5 thin slices (3 ounces) deli provolone cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

With a fork, mash together 3/4 cup tomato sauce, the panko breadcrumbs and pesto in a medium large bowl. Gently mix in the ground meats, plus salt and pepper, using hands until thoroughly combined.

In the center of a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, shape half of the meat mixture into a 10-by-6-inch rectangle. Lay half the spinach on top of the meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edges. Shingle the provolone slices over spinach and then top with the remaining spinach.

Form remaining meat mixture into a 9-by-5-inch rectangle and gently transfer to the baking dish to top the meatloaf. Reshape top layer as needed and tuck around the filling, leaving 1/2-inch of the bottom meat layer exposed. Fold bottom edge of meatloaf over the top layer, pinching edges together to seal.

Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on top of the meatloaf and bake on middle rack for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon off fat. Add remaining tomato sauce to the dish and continue to bake a final 10 to 15 minutes. Let meatloaf sit for 7 to 10 minutes before slicing with a sharp knife.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a bottle of Valpolicella.

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