To cook Italian-cooked ham loaf, you will need three ingredients.
Since my mother-in-law handed me the recipe, I cooked and offered it on many occasions, for instance, lunches with friends and family events. First of all, because it is easy to make and always comes out well, everyone (even children) likes it, you can make it in advance and store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
It is one of those dishes that, like the original spaghetti a la Bolognese, you can taste at some local’s house but rarely find at a restaurant.
In fact, this recipe is very trendy in the home kitchens of Bolognese cooks.
And now I’m sharing it with you.
About Italian rifreddo, galantina and polpettone (meatloaf)
Rifredda and galantina are typical preparations of northern and central Italy, and they were born in Renaissance times. Those dishes were perfect to be preserved for a long time. And it made them perfect in an era where preserving meat presented a problem.
Historically, the term rifreddo referred to a cold dish that appeared at the table after the main course but before dessert (and the same was true for galantines).
Rifreddi and galantine today are obsolete preparations even though they still have a great tradition in Bologna.
Another common feature of these recipes is that cooking may involve soaking the dish in a liquid (broth or water).
Meatloaf also has a texture that can recall the consistency and cooking of certain rifreddi and galantine. But it has a peculiarity. Unlike the other two, meatloaf, a recipe with Italian origins, is a mixture that is always prepared with ground ingredients and has a close kinship with meatballs that the other two do not.
In contrast, rifreddi and galantine sometimes show thin slices of overlapping meat. Sometimes the recipe calls for some mince wrapped into a piece of meat.
In Emilia-Romagna, particularly in Bologna, rifreddi and galantine have a well-established tradition. And also of meatloaf.
Among the recipes of the blog, you will find a recipe for mortadella and green bean rifreddo.
Have you tried it yet?
Cooked ham loaf (rifreddo)
The consistency of this rifreddo is like meatloaf, but the flavor recalls some recipes for Bolognese galantine. The slice is firm and soft, moist and tasty on the palate.
It is an interesting recipe, gluten and lactose-free, with only three ingredients to mix and a long but undemanding cooking time.
You can eat it cold with mayonnaise and seasonal salad. Or warm with baked potatoes or butter and Parmesan green beans. In winter, warm the slices with melted cheese and mashed potatoes.
You can serve it at an event or Sunday lunch with an Italian accent.
These slices work well also in the picnic basket or between two slices of bread.
I recently prepared it for lunch with friends. Thinking of the mild, almost summer-like weather at the time, I added grated lemon zest and recommended you do too. It adds freshness and fragrance.
Buona cucina, Monica
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You can half the amount of cooked ham and Parmesan cheese but use two eggs. The roll will be enough for four people.
Cooked Ham Loaf a la Bolognese
cooked ham, 300g
grated parmigiano reggiano, 300g
medium eggs, 3
you can substitute Italian cooked ham with roasted ham
if liked: grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Finely mince the cooked ham in a blender.
In a bowl, beat the eggs before adding Parmesan and ham. Mix with a fork and then knead with your hands until soft and well blended.
Let rest in the refrigerator for one hour.
Lay the dough on a sheet of baking paper and help with your hands to give it the shape of a meatloaf.
Wrap in the baking paper by folding the paper flaps under the roll.
Now, wrap the roll in aluminum foil. You can look at the video with the process here.
Put the meatloaf in a saucepan, cover with hot water, and cook on the stove over medium heat and a half-covered pan for 45 minutes.
Turn off and let the meatloaf cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
Then pick gently up the roll with your hands, and lay it on a plate.
Remove the paper wrapping and let it cool in the refrigerator overnight or several hours before slicing.
If you want to serve it warm, heat the meatloaf in the oven in a covered baking dish at 170 degrees for about 15 to 30 minutes.
Then remove it from the oven, and let it rest for a few minutes.
Before serving, cut into slices and store in the freezer for two months.
Or refrigerate for two days.