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A close up of an Italian meatloaf wrapped in pancetta and stuffed with cheese
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Polpettone - Italian Meatloaf Wrapped in Pancetta

The most delicious Italian Meatloaf (Polpettone) stuffed with Taleggio cheese and wrapped in crispy pancetta. It's juicy, super easy to make and packed with flavour. Served with a simple tomato sauce.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
chilling time30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Modern Italian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 723kcal
Author: Emily Kemp

Equipment

  • Kitchen string
  • Plastic wrap (cling film)

Ingredients

For the meatloaf

  • 4.5 cups 12% fat ground beef (700g/1.5 lbs)
  • 1.5 cups 5% fat ground pork (300g/10.5 oz)
  • ½ cup milk (120ml)
  • 3 large slices crustless white bread (100g)
  • ½ cup white wine (60ml)
  • 2 large cloves garlic crushed
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup grated parmesan (30g)
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 pinch ground pepper

Filling

  • 7 oz pancetta strips (200g) around 36 strips
  • 7 oz Taleggio rinds removed (200g)
  • ½ ball fresh mozzarella (2.1oz/60g)

For the sauce

Instructions

  • Remove all crusts from the bread and tear it up into rough pieces. Put it in a bowl and add the milk. Let it soak for 5 minutes.
  • Add all of the meatloaf ingredients apart from the filling and pancetta to a large mixing bowl. Add the milk soaked bread and mix everything together with your hands until thoroughly combined.

Assembly

  • Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a clean work surface and lay two rows of pancetta lengthways on top. Make sure the second row of pancetta overlaps the first by 2 inches (see step by step photos for reference).
  • Put the meatloaf mixture on top of the pancetta and flatten it into a rough rectangle shape. Cut the taleggio and mozzarella into cubes or strips and add it along the middle of the meat.
  • Shape the meat over the cheese into a large log. Spend a minute or two smoothing out and sealing all the cracks around the meatloaf. This is an important step to stop the cheese from oozing out.
  • Next, wrap the pancetta all around the meatloaf tucking in the ends tightly. Keep it wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Once ready, pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C.
  • Remove the meatloaf and place on a large baking tray and tie it firmly with kitchen string (one large loop around the length and 7-8 loops around the width). This gives the meatloaf extra support to keep the cheese in the middle.
  • Bake in the oven for 80 minutes until cooked through and crispy on the outside.
  • To make the tomato sauce
  • You can make the sauce while the meatloaf is cooking then heat it up before serving (it only takes 10-15 minutes to make)
  • Add the olive oil to a large pan and add the finely chopped garlic. Saute for around a minute until fragrant.
  • Next, add the canned tomatoes. Add around 1 tablespoon of water to the cans, rinse out any leftover tomato and add it to the sauce. Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher for a smoother sauce.
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced slightly. Add torn fresh basil, stir and set aside.
  • Once cooked, remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with the tomato sauce and sides such as roast potatoes and green beans.

Video

Notes

  • How long does it last? The meatloaf will keep well (covered) in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Enjoy it cold or reheat it in the oven.
  • Freezing - You can freeze raw or cooked meatloaf. Make sure to defrost (thaw) it completely before reheating or cooking. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 723kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 184mg | Sodium: 1155mg | Potassium: 763mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 736IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 317mg | Iron: 5mg