Veal meatloaf with Speck & Boiled Eggs


A centrepiece with a difference. This is my stunning polpettone meatloaf recipe that would easily claim centre stage on any family dinner table. I have mentioned before that I am not the best at cooking a traditional roast dinner because it was something that we never ate growing up. Sunday was always pasta and for me I couldn’t have been happier. From egg and mozzarella laden lasagne to cannelloni, stuffed pasta shells and pasta sotto forno. I don’t have the love, memories or want for a roast dinner, that said, I suppose this would be our take on something a little different but within those roast parameters.

Hailing from the South of Italy but loved, made, cooked and eaten in all 20 regions with different twists and additions.  The base meat mixture can be bulked out a little more with roasted vegetables chopped through it, a different combination of fresh herbs and obviously a proportional change of the chosen meat, lending the polpettone to always taste and be a little different. Mix beef, venison or pork mince with the veal for a tweak of flavour. I personally adore veal so prefer to use is solely as I enjoy a slightly sweeter taste.

The outer spectacle comes from the basil leaves and sheets of speck that laminate and blanket the meat wonderfully, offering a smokey flavour with a salty crispy finish. The inner treat comes from the scrumptious yet incredibly humble, boiled egg! Once the polpettone is sliced you will see, what my husband calls a ‘posh scotch egg’.

When it comes to serving the polpettone, I serve it sliced on a bed of cavolo nero that has been slow cooked with a tin of cherry tomatoes, garlic, and shallots. Then for a carbohydrate side, fry off some small, cubed potatoes with olive oil, garlic, and rosemary, serve with a glass of vino rosso and enjoy what I call an ‘Italian roast dinner’.



Serve: 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Oven temperature: 190C for 1 hour 15 minutes


450g veal mince

450g beef mice

2 cloves, garlic, crushed

150g Dried natural breadcrumbs

150g Parmigiano Reggiano

1 large egg

½ tsp. chilli flakes

1 tsp. Dried oregano

Small bunch parsley, finely chopped (including stems)

Salt & pepper, to season

6 large eggs, boiled (For the filling)

6 speck, 6 slices

Small bunch of basil leaves


Into a large bowl add the veal and beef mince and break it up with a wooden spoon. Tumble in the crushed garlic, dried breadcrumbs, Parmigiano and egg. Stir well with a wooden spoon to incorporate.

Sprinkle in the chilli flakes, dried oregano and parsley .

Add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and mix really well. I do prefer to use my hands to mix the mixture well.

Onto a clean board lay a sheet of parchment paper, this will ensure the polpettone mixture will not stick and will aid in rolling.  Spoon out the meat mixture onto the parchement. Using your hands press the veal out to a rectangle, approx 3cm deep 40 x 20cm , a large rectangle.

Take the sheets of speck and lay them across the polpettone.

Top with basil leaves and then lay the boiled eggs across the centre of the polpettone rectangle.

Gently roll the polpettone (sinilar to a swissroll) until rolled and sealed. Seal and fold in the sides until you have one large looking sausage.

Lay the polpettone into a large oven proof dish and add 150ml vermouth. Seal and cover with foil for 50 minutes. Then remove the foil and finish cooking.

Slice and serve with whipped polenta and cavolo nero steeped in garlic, chilli and passatta.


Carmela’s tip: To add a final layer of flavour you could also wrap the polpettone in speck and roast. Simply scrumptious!