Wolfie’s Thursday night turkey meatloaf

Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8
Wolfie’s Thursday night turkey meatloaf
(Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)
Print RecipePrint Recipe

Valerie Bertinelli is no stranger to the kitchen. Both her cookbook, “One Dish at a Time,” and her Food Network show, “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” draw from childhood memories of the kitchen and cooking for her family and friends.

A family favorite is “Wolfie’s Thursday night meatloaf,” named after her son, Wolfgang. Thursday night was a big homework night and she wanted to be with him when he did it. “Meatloaf is the perfect comfort food,” Bertinelli says.

Her meatloaf is turkey-based, but she likes to fold in chopped pancetta for added richness. She places the meat in a large bowl, adding grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, onion, garlic, ketchup, bread crumbs and spices. Bertinelli also includes chopped fresh parsley, which lends bright color and flavor. Finally, she likes to add a touch of balsamic glaze or vin cotto to lend a little tang to counter the richness.

From the story: TV star and mom Valerie Bertinelli shares her ‘Thursday night meatloaf’ recipe


Heat the oven to 500 degrees. Combine the bread and milk in a large bowl and soak for 10 minutes. Add the turkey, eggs, cheese, pancetta, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon ketchup, balsamic glaze, parsley, oregano, dried bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well with your hands.


Shape into an 8-inch-by-5-inch loaf and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and slather the remaining ketchup all over the top of the loaf. Bake until a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the loaf reads 165 degrees, about 45 minutes. Remove the meatloaf and set it aside to rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a platter and serve.

Adapted from a recipe by Valerie Bertinelli in her cookbook, “One Dish at a Time.” She writes, “The memory is so vivid: I’m standing at the kitchen counter, mixing bread crumbs, onions, ground turkey, cheese, eggs and seasoning, while Wolfie sits at the kitchen table doing his homework. They’re some of the fondest memories I have of his childhood — and I’m certain half of America can relate to this scene. Back then, I relied on a repeated weekly menu, which is how this meatloaf earned its name. It makes excellent sandwiches the day after it is baked.”