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Italian Mini Meatloaves with Tomato-Alfredo Tortellini

When I was growing up it seemed that almost every family I knew had meatloaf often as an economical family meal. Loaded with onions and topped with ketchup, meatloaf was definitely not my favorite entrée.

As an adult, I’ve toyed with different meatloaf flavorings – from Cajun to Mexican to Italian. This Italian-inspired version has become a family favorite, and the preparation is quick and easy with the help of my Viking food processor. Shredded mozzarella adds additional moistness to the meatloaves, and prosciutto adds a smoky flavor. Rather than chopping the prosciutto and adding it to the meatloaf mixture, I use it to line the baking pans before adding the flavorful filling.

While most meatloaves take up to an hour to bake, you can cook these in half the time in muffin or individual loaf tins. The recipe works well in either, yielding eight mini meatloaves in the loaf tins, and 12 in standard muffin tins. The Italian accent of these meatloaves is heightened by a quick and easy tomato-Alfredo sauce which tops the mini meatloaves and is tossed with cooked cheese tortellini for a no-fuss side dish.

  • 1 10-ounce jar sundried tomato pesto
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup seasoned dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (about 1 large clove)
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1 cup part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 1 16-ounce jar reduced-fat Alfredo sauce
  • 1 16-ounce package frozen cheese tortellini
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese, for garnish
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pesto, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic and basil in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse several times to combine. Add ground beef and shredded mozzarella to the food processor and pulse until all ingredients are well combined. Spray miniature loaf or regular-sized muffin tins with nonstick spray. Cut prosciutto in half if using miniature loaf pans or in thirds if using muffin tins. Press into bottom of each cup. Divide beef mixture into 8 to 12 balls and press each ball into prosciutto-lined cups. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees when checked with an instant-read thermometer.

While meatloaves bake, prepare the sauce and the tortellini. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add tortellini and cook according to package directions. Drain, return to the pot and set aside. Bring seasoned tomatoes to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When liquid is reduced slightly, about 5 minutes, add Alfredo house. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until heated through.

When meatloaves are done, invert them onto a serving platter, drizzle with some of the sauce, sprinkle with the shredded Parmesan and garnish with the fresh basil leaves. Toss the tortellini with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

*Miniature loaf tins will yield 8 meatloaves, while muffin tins will yield 12 meatloaves.