Meatloaf for Mad Men Dinner

Italian Meatloaf

“There ain’t no coupe de Ville hidin’ in the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.”
~ Meat Loaf ~

If Mad Men could really have “Sal’s” Italian Meatloaf???  Now we all know that Sal is no longer a character on Mad Men, what the heck?   What losers made that crazy decision?   So what would Sal make for his office buddies, why Italian meatloaf, what else and perhaps serve with new food items of the 60’s, Instant Mashed potatoes (1964)  and Green Giant Frozen Peas (1961).

About 30 or so years ago Mikey invited Steph and me over for his famous/or not so famous Italian meatloaf and he not knowing what kind of Italian he was going to feed did his best and even used an  “American version of ricotta, cottage cheese”  in the recipe, long le sigh here.  It wasn’t terrible actually pretty tasty as meatloaf goes, I’ve never been a huge fan of meatloaf nor did I ever make it before I met him, I was just happy that anyone would cook dinner for me and again.  The problem was that he had such a great success then decided to make it again and double the recipe weeks later.  To this day I never could figure out how he got all that “ricotta” in the center of that meatloaf as it seemed to be 2 lbs of cheese surrounded by 4 lbs of ground beef. 

Mikey’s favorite celebration dinner is meatloaf so I’ve tried numerous recipes over the years and I must say that beyond my own creations “Horesfeather’s Meatloaf with Two Catsups” is one of my personal favorites.

A more basic approach is to incorporate my homemade Italian sausage for the added Italian flavor, a blend of onions, peppers, garlic and top it with sauce and pancetta, now that is pretty basic. 

I always make extra meatloaf and freeze. 

Menu for Mad Men Dinner

 Clams Casino and White Sangria
Meatloaf, Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Mashed Potatoes,
Wedge Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese Ranch Dressing & Braised Bacon Crumbles

Italian Meatloaf – Makes 4-1-1/2 lbs pan loaves

2-1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1-1/2 lbs ground veal
2 lbs ground Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, diced, sautéed to soften, cool before adding to meat
4 small yellow peppers, diced, sautéed with onions
4 large eggs, whisked
Splash of red wine
*optional 1-2 teaspoons Balsamic crema di tondo
2 roasted red peppers, diced 
1-1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan 
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper
Worcestershire sauce-1-2 tablespoons
Homemade tomato sauce or marinara, my leftover pizza sauce worked great for me
Pancetta to cover
2 tablespoons Olive oil to sauté onions and peppers

Blend the breadcrumbs with the cheese and minced chopped parsley. 

Hand mix all of the ground meats, add garlic, cooled onions, red peppers.  

Blend the mix with your hands add in the wine, eggs and season with salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

Add the crumbs and cheese in 3rds, mix with hands between each addition.

Shape into loaves, spread with sauce, and cover with pancetta slices, bake at 350° 45- 60 minutes or to an internal temperature of 155°-160° and allow to sit at least 10 minutes before slicing.

I skim off the pan juices, and simmer with 2 cups vegetable broth and cook down to about 1-1/2 cups sauce.

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes – serves 6

5 large baking potatoes, peels and cut into  about 3 inch chunks, steamed or boiled until soft
1 small head of roasted garlic, squeeze the soft cloves and mash
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
1/4-1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2-3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup minced chives

Steam or boil the potatoes and put through a ricer or food mill, stir in the butter, broth, garlic, cheese and season with salt and pepper. Finally blend in some of the parsley and chives and finish with parsley and chives before serving.

~ White Sangria ~

  • ½ lb of fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, small diced
  • 20 or so fresh whole basil leaves
  • 1 bottle of Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio wine
  • 1/2 cup Peach Brandy (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Cruzan white rum (optional)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1 cup San Pellegrino water or club soda
  • 1 cup of white grape juice
  • m bunch of basil, leaves removed, about 20
Add the sugar and basil leaves to a serving pitcher and muddle/stir with a wooden spoon to release basil oils.
Add Sliced berries and diced apple, stir into the sugar, add sparkling water or club soda and remaining booze, chill until serving time.

~ Rose’s Deviled Clams Casino ~

Rose's Deviled Clams Casino

Makes 24

  • 6-8 slices crispy pancetta, *optional, reserve some to top clams before broiling
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup minced red pepper
  • 1 medium clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, unseasoned, if using Italian seasoned, go light on the other seasonings in the stuffing
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • pinch of Phillips Seafood seasoning
  • 1-2 tablespoon tablespoons Parmesan
  • 1/4-1/2 cup white wine to steam the clams in
  • 2 cloves smashed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or chopped fresh herbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter to add to white wine
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • fresh lemon wedges,
  • *2 optional teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dozen littleneck clams, opened & removed from shell after steaming
  • 1 big bowl to toss ingredients into and a heavy pan
  • deviled egg container to store clams in if making ahead or freezing

Scrub clean the clam shells. Add butter and a tablespoon olive oil to a pan large enough to steam two dozen clams, toss in the smashed garlic, when the butter melts and garlic fragrant, toss in the white wine, bring to boil and add the clams, cover and steam quickly removing clams just as they open. Remove the clams from the shells and rough chop, reserve and chill. Strain broth and reserve as this will be the liquid for the clam stuffing.
Sauté the bacon, remove and crumble for the stuffing. Saute the minced shallots/onions and red pepper 3 minutes. Toss clams, bread crumbs, cheese, pancetta, vegetables, and seasonings. Turn the clams into the stuffing ingredients and taste for seasoning. Moisten with reserved strained liquid, place into oiled shells, sprinkle with paprika and a touch of seafood seasoning, Broil til tops are a little brown and crusty.

Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce.