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Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. Meatloaf, not meatballs, was served with spaghetti. What’s more, the meatloaf was leftover. We’re both fans of this most comforting of comfort foods, so much so that I generally make one once a week. Because I’m generally preparing dinner just for two, we often have at least a half loaf left over, from which we typically make sandwiches or use to serve with fried eggs.

But last night I thought I would use the meatloaf as a substitute for meatballs in a red sauce. I cut the leftover loaf into 1½ cubes, which I then cooked in a plain tomato sauce for about 30 minutes.

The recipe for the sauce was Marcella Hazan’s Tomato, Butter, and Onion. Place an onion cut in half along with a 28-ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes (crushed) and their juice, 5 tablespoons of butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook at a slow simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done remove the onion.

My meat loaf is a combination of recipes, but is made from ground dark meat turkey or beef, diced pancetta, bread crumb, parsley, garlic, cubed feta cheese, raisins, eggs and milk and seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin. I think however that you could substitute almost any meat loaf you like.

After adding the cubed meat loaf to the sauce, cook for 30 minutes stirring occasionally but be careful not to break the cubes. When done, transfer to a large skillet.

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Just before serving, place the cubes of meat loaf on warmed serving plates.

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When the pasta is just shy of al dente, transfer it to the skillet and toss with the sauce and some grated cheese, either Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano.

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Transfer the sauced pasta to the plates with the cubed meat loaf.

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Not a fancy dish; but on a chilly winter weekday night, it provides loads of comfort and joy.

Wine Pairing: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

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