Italian Meatloaf


This week, my helper Will and I decided to make meatloaf. But not just an everyday meatloaf, The Pioneer Woman’s Italian meatloaf. My boys love meatballs, or anything you can call a meatball, so I thought this would be a good recipe to try this week.


This recipe is from her Dinnertime book, which I got for Christmas in 2015.

What I Like:

  • It’s written just like her show, very homey and funny. There are tons of photos of her ranch and family, and her awesome dogs.
  • The recipes are very family friendly. With a cowboy husband and a passel of kids, they have to be.
  • The ingredients are every day things everyone has on hand.
  • The book is organized well, making it very easy to find the recipes you’re interested in.

The downside:

  • Well, I can’t think of one really. So that’s a good thing!


The recipe I chose had all of my requirements for a good dinner: meat, Italian flavor, easy to prepare. And it hit all of those marks. What didn’t work so well was the pancetta on top. I thought that would be a great addition, but it didn’t really brown up the way I thought it would. What I might change is to wait until the last 30 minutes to put the tomatoes (which were awesome) on top so the pancetta has a chance to brown up and get a bit crunchy. I served it with garlic roasted green beans and some noodles tossed in butter. I would also make additional tomatoes and warm them slightly to toss the noodles in as well, since we really like them.

Italian Meatloaf

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

From Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime


6 slices crusty Italian bread
1 cup milk
2 pounds ground beef
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs
1/2 cup minced parsley
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Two 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
12 to 16 thin slices pancetta, about 4 ounces

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Tear the bread into chunks and place it in a bowl. Pour the milk over the bread, toss it around, and let it soak in for several minutes.
  3. Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, eggs, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Smush and knead it around with your hands until everything is completely mixed.
  4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the tomatoes, brown sugar, mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire and stir it together.
  5. Place the meat mixture on a drip pan (a pan with a slotted tray on top) and form it into a big honkin’ loaf shape.
  6. Arrange the pancetta slices in an overlapping pattern all over the surface.
  7. Spoon the tomato mixture allover the top. Leave any excess juices in the bowl.
  8. Tent the pan with foil and bake the meatloaf for 50 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes more, or until done in the middle. Be careful not to let the pancetta burn.
  9. Cut into thick slices and serve with your favorite sides.

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