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This is a meatloaf dish worthy of being served even on more formal occasions. Traditionally, in Italy, risotto would be offered as a first course, and you may serve it that way if you prefer. When prepared correctly, there is simply nothing that compares to risotto. It is not difficult to do, but the process does require constant attention, and it should always be prepared just before serving as it does not hold well. WINE RECOMMENDATION: A Gattinara from Italy or a Barbera or Petite Syrah from California.
- For the Meatloaf:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, diced, plus 1 onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 slices "day old" bread
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 1/2 pounds lean high-quality ground beef
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped prosciutto, or other cured ham
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup beef stock
- 6 ounces wild mushrooms (such as porcini or shiitakes), sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced lemon zest
- For the Asparagus Risotto:
- 12 ounces asparagus
- 3 cups water, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups vegetable stock, or chicken stock
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
TO PREPARE THE MEATLOAF: Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small saucepan and sauté the diced onion over medium heat until golden, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pulse the bread in a food processor until crumbs form (you will have about 1 cup of crumbs). Set aside 1/2 cup for the meatloaf. Spread out the remaining crumbs on a baking sheet to let them dry out until you use them later (if they are still soft when ready to use, place the baking sheet in an oven on low heat for about 10 minutes before using). Mix the 1/2 cup bread crumbs with the milk and squeeze to release all the liquid you can; discard the liquid.
Place the sautéed onion and garlic, dampened bread crumbs, beef, Parmesan, prosciutto and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into a cylindrical meatloaf (it must be able to fit into a large loaf pan, an oval ovenproof casserole or a cooking dish with a 10-inch diameter; the meatloaf can also be cooked in a fish poacher). Roll the meatloaf in the reserved dried bread crumbs. Transfer to a platter and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan and sauté the sliced onion over medium heat for about 7 minutes, until golden. Remove and set aside. Melt the butter in the loaf pan, casserole, or cooking dish, add the meatloaf, and sauté on all sides for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown. Handle the meatloaf gently so that it does not break apart. Add the wine, stock, mushrooms, and sautéed sliced onion, and bring to a simmer. Cover, and transfer to the oven.
Braise for about 45 minutes, or until the meatloaf is no longer pink on the inside and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Note that the internal temperature of the meatloaf will continue to rise by 5 to 10 degrees after it has been removed from the oven. Transfer the meatloaf to a heated serving platter. With a spoon, skim any fat from the surface of the sauce. Spoon the sauce with the mushrooms over the meatloaf. Mix the parsley and lemon zest, and sprinkle it over the meatloaf.
TO PREPARE THE RISOTTO: While the meatloaf is braising, prepare the risotto. Trim the asparagus, removing any large or woody ends. Place 2 cups of the water and the salt in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus, turn down the heat to low, and simmer, covered, until just tender, about 7 minutes (cooking time will be determined by the size of the asparagus; if you are using pencil asparagus, it will take about 3 minutes.) Remove the asparagus, reserving the cooking liquid, and dry on paper towels. Cut the asparagus into 3/4-inch lengths, discarding any tough stringy pieces.
Add the cooking liquid to the stock and the remaining 1 cup of water in a clean saucepan and bring to a low simmer. In another heavy saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and sauté the asparagus over medium heat for about 2 or 3 minutes; remove and set aside. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes longer, or until softened. Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until well coated. Turn the heat down to medium-low, stir in about 1/2 cup of the asparagus broth, and cook until the liquid is almost all absorbed. Add another cup of broth and continue to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom.
Repeat this process, adding simmering broth to the rice in small increments until you have used about 4 cups of the broth. Then, begin adding the broth about 1/4 cup at a time, until the rice is almost cooked (if you run out of broth, add simmering water). Return the asparagus to the pan to warm through. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 1/2-inch cubes and gently stir into the risotto with the cheese; cook about 2 minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the risotto immediately, with the meatloaf.
HELPFUL TIPS: The amount of broth needed for the risotto will vary depending on how quickly the rice cooks and how much broth is absorbed during cooking; do not hesitate to use more or less as you see fit. When adding the broth to the rice, try to maintain a brisk simmer, so that each addition cooks out fairly quickly, otherwise the rice will become glutinous. You can substitute 1/4 cup of the white wine for the same amount of broth if you like. The finished risotto should be tender and creamy but still have a bitable texture (that is, al dente).
Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
1195 calories; 58g total fat; 238mg cholesterol; 1491mg sodium; 88g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 65g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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