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Red Wine Meatloaf
(adapted from Lynne Rosetto Kasper)

1 large garlic clove
1/2 cup cubed (about 1/4-inch cubes) whole-wheat baguette, or other chewy bread
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 thick slice bacon, or 2 regular slices, ¼ inch dice
1/4 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice, about ½ cup
1/4 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice, about ½ cup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 large fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup (1-1/2 to 2 ounces) shredded Asiago or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (on the large holes of a box grater)
2 large whole scallions, thinly sliced
1 large egg yolk
3/4 pound ground 85% beef chuck
¼ pound ground pork
1/2 cup dry red wine

Make the meatloaf:
        Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9-inch square cake pan with cooking spray or oil.
        Turn on a food processor and drop in the garlic. Then drop in the bread cubes and process until pieces are a quarter the size of a pea. Scrape everything into a large bowl and moisten the crumbs with the wine. Let the wine soak into the bread while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
        In the same bowl of the food processor, add the onion and red pepper and process until minced. (some pieces will be larger than others)
        In a small skillet, cook the bacon until beginning to brown, add the onion, and red pepper, and cook until the vegetables are softened. Remove from the heat to cool slightly.
        In a medium size bowl, add all of the ingredients except the 2 meats. Combine well, and then add the ground beef and pork. Using a fork or spoon, gently work in the meat until everything is thoroughly mixed. Turn the mixture into the pan and shape into a plump loaf.
        Bake the meatloaf for 20 minutes. Pour the 1/2 cup of wine over it. Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the meat loaf’s center reads 160ºF. Remove the meatloaf from the oven; let it rest about 15 minutes before slicing. The defatted accumulated juices in the bottom of the pan can be used as a delicious gravy.

Makes 4 servings.      YUM!

LESSONS Learned:
1. Although you can use just ground beef, it will taste even better with both ground beef and pork.
2. You only need one Tablespoon of tomato paste for this recipe, so buy it in a tube, that way you’ll always have some on hand in the fridge, and you won’t waste any of it.
3. Mix gently, combining well, trying not to compress the mixture too much. Packing the mixture to tightly together will make it a tougher texture.
4. Any leftovers make for the perfect sandwich the next day!