I’ve always enjoyed meatloaf. Even as a kid, I looked forward to my aunt’s polpettone, with its caramelized onions, raisins, and parsley gently mixed in with the more traditional meatloaf ingredients. When I asked why we never served meatloaf to company, I was told it was a family dish.
Well, the other night, I made a dark-meat-turkey version of this family fare with feta and raisins. As is often the case with preparing dinner for two, we had almost half of it leftover. But rather than making sandwiches from it or serving it at room temperature topped with a fried egg as I usually do, I thought I’d try something different.
I searched the internet and found plenty of ideas ranging from meatloaf hash to meatloaf lasagna. However, the one that appealed to me most was stuffed peppers. Almost all of the recipes for them involved adding bread or rice along with eggs to the meat as a binder and additional seasonings, but I thought my meatloaf already had plenty of these. So I decided simply to crumble it up and add just a few tablespoons of tomato passata to moisten the meat. I also used the passata mixed with some olive oil and fresh basil for the cooking sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.
As for the peppers, I sliced off their tops, seeded them, and par cooked them for 3 to 4 minutes in lightly slated boiling water along with their tops. I left them to drain and cool while I prepared the stuffing and preheated the oven to 350°F.
After lightly drizzling the cooled peppers with some olive oil, I generously stuffed them and topped them with some fresh mozzarella. I then placed them in a baking dish to which I added about a half cup of the passata sauce together with some chunks of the meatloaf, the pepper tops, and some fresh basil. They cooked in the oven for about 50 minutes until the peppers were cooked through and the cheese was nicely browned.
The results exceeded my expectations. The peppers were perfectly cooked, the stuffing moist and flavorful, and the sauce succulent. It was a dish that may even be fit for company.
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir