ADVOCATE-TESTED RECIPE

Stuffed Italian Meatloaf

Makes 8 servings. Recipe is from Corinne Cook.

2 pounds lean ground beef

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup finely chopped bell pepper

1 small rib of celery, finely chopped

Generous pinch of oregano, thyme and basil

Salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups bread crumbs (I used 1 cup Italian-style and 1 cup plain bread crumbs)

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce, divided

1 (3.5-ounce) package pepperoni slices (about 50 thin slices)

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese or enough to lightly cover top of meat

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Spray large, rimmed baking pan with nonstick coating and cut a piece of foil, waxed paper or parchment paper about 12x20 inches. Set aside.

3. In large mixing bowl, add meat, chopped onion, bell pepper and celery.

4. Season with oregano, thyme and basil and salt, black pepper and cayenne.

5. Add eggs, bread crumbs and half of the tomato sauce.

6. Mix gently with a fork until well combined, then use your hands to be sure all is well mixed.

7. Turn out onto piece of prepared paper or foil. Using your fingertips, pat meat to an even thickness making a 10- to 16-inch rectangle (that will be smaller than the piece of paper you cut).

8. Lay pepperoni slices over surface of meat, leaving ½-inch edge free.

9. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top.

10. Begin on the long side, tightly rolling the meat over the pepperoni and cheese; lifting the paper to help you roll the meat and to place it into the prepared pan, sealed side down. Gently pinch edges of meat together to seal cheese inside. Discard the paper.

11. Bake for 1 hour.

12. Pour remaining half of tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf and bake an additional 10 minutes or until internal temperature of the meat is at least 160 F on an instant-read thermometer.

13. Slice and serve while hot.