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.
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.
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