Treat your family to an authentic Italian Sunday dinner with this eye-catching meatloaf. Learn how to make this perfectly shaped meatloaf, filled with prosciutto cotto and mozzarella, in this step-by-step tutorial. 

Just before we jump into this post, let me warn you that this post has twenty-three pictures, one collage, and a pin-strip for Pinterest. I know. I went a little over board with the photos, but this is, afterall, a step-by-step tutorial. :-) 

Last weekend, my husband had asked me to make a meatloaf for Sunday. Since he didn't specify what he wanted in particular, I got a little creative with some inspiration from this authentic Italian recipe. I used my mom's recipe for meatballs.

I found the mixture to be a little dry, so I added a bit of cream to moisten it up a bit. I usually use medium or large eggs on hand, but this time, I only had small eggs. If you find that the mixture feels stiff and dry than add a bit of liquid, such as water, cream or milk, but I wouldn't add an additional egg, though. The meat mixture would have too much moisture making it difficult to roll later on. However, if it does happen, just add more bread crumbs, along with a bit of salt, so the meatloaf doesn't taste bland.

The next step is to mix the ingredients well. I said it before and I'll say it again ... don't be afraid to do it. In this recipe, you want the meatloaf to hold together when it's rolled out. :-) 

Grease one side of wax or parchment paper with spray or oil. This will prevent the meat from sticking to the paper when it gets rolled out. Roll it out to the width of the loaf pan that you are using. I used a silicon loaf form but any loaf pan will do. If you use a glass one, bake the meatloaf a bit longer, so it's cooked through.

Place another sheet of wax or parchment paper (that has also been greased) over the mixture, and gently flatten it out with your hand(s). Using a rolling pin, roll out the mixture until you get a thin layer, about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. If you prefer to have more layers in the meatloaf, then you can roll the meat a little thinner. I will try this the next time I make this. 

TIP: If the paper scrunches up, then gently pull it away from the meat, straighten in out, and place it back on the meat. If it happens on the bottom, flip it over, and do the same thing.

The mixture should be rolled out to about 13-14 inches (35-36 cm) long.You might get raggedy edges like I did. The next steps will explain how to fix it.

Fold each side of the wax or parchment paper, gently pressing down with your hand(s) to flatten it out.

Cover again with paper and roll it out to get an even surface. The sides and corners won't be perfectly straight, but it will be more manageable to handle when rolling.

The meatloaf is now ready to be filled. You can add whatever you like, really. Prosciutto cotto (Italian cooked ham) and mozzarella are yummy, but spinach would give the meatloaf a nice contrast when sliced.

I used three large slices of prosciutto cotto, but the sizes can vary depending on the manufacturer.

In the original recipe, the cheese is layered first, but here, for no particular reason, I added the ham first. You can do as you wish. Either way works fine.

Then add LOTS of cheese.

Now the rolling begins! Use the baking or parchment paper as an aid, tightly roll the narrow side, that has the same width of the pan, away from you ... just like you would for a swiss roll

Using both hands, tightly tuck the edge as you start form the 'pin wheel'. 

As you roll, the meatloaf will keep it's form.

Keep rolling, pulling the paper away.

Keep going .... :-)

And here you have the perfect roll. :-)

Remove or tuck in any excess cheese and taper both sides of meatloaf.

Flip it over so the seam side is down and place in the middle of the parchment paper.

Grab the ends of the parchment paper and gently lift and place the meatloaf into the pan. Bake at 400 deg F (200 deg C) for 45-60 minutes, depending on the form you use (glass forms will take longer). You'll know it's ready when the top is nicely browned. Mine took about 45 minutes to cook.

Let the meatloaf sit for 5 minutes before tipping out the fat. It will have shrunk a bit after baking.

Cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices and serve with any style of potatoes and green vegetables. Two slices per person is a good portion to start. :-)

This really isn't difficult to prepare and it makes a stunning presentation. I used half pork, half beef, but poultry ground meat would work well in this recipe, as well. Enjoy!

Buon appetito!

(From the Kitchen of For the Love of Italian Cooking)

  • 1 lb (500 g) ground meat (either meatloaf mix, chicken or turkey would work well
  • 1/3 cup (30g) grated parmesan or grana padana
  • 1/3 cup (40g) dried plain bread crumbs
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 1 tbsp (5g) chopped fresh parsely
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pkg thinly sliced prosciutto cotto
  • 1 cup (100 g) shredded mozzarella
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg F (200 deg C). 
  2. Mix all the ingredients (except for prosciutto cotto and mozzarella) in a medium bowl until well blended.
  3. Between two greased baking or parchment paper, roll the meat mixture to the width of the pan and 13-14 inches (34-35 cm) long. If you get the raggedy edges, fold each side of the paper to get straighter edges, cover with other sheet of wax paper, and flatten again with rolling pin.
  4. Layer the meatloaf first with prosciutto cotto and then shredded mozzarella (or the other way around).
  5. Starting at the narrow end (same width as the pan), tightly roll the meatloaf 'jelly roll style', with the help of parchment paper. Place the log seam-side down in the middle of the parchment paper and taper the ends of the meatloaf.
  6. Transfer the meatloaf into the pan and bake for 45-60 minutes (glass pans will take longer to 60 minutes). The meatloaf will be nicely browned on top.
  7. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then pour out the rendered fat. 
  8. Cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices and serve with any style potatoes and green vegetables.


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Rosa G.
Hamburg, Germany
Hi! My name is Rosa and welcome to my blog! I'm a fun loving, most-of-the-time stressed mother of three small boys, and a former cubicle dweller turned pastry chef. I am an amateur blogger and food photographer and lover of good Italian food. My food is simple, fresh, and seasonal (with an occasional frozen pizza).