When I was a kid, I loved ketchup-and-cheese sandwiches. I’m not talking about grilled cheesy goodness dunked in ketchup, here; this was two pieces of Home Pride, a single slice of Kraft American, and a heavy-handed squiggle of Heinz 57. I was obsessed with ketchup. Ketchup made everything better. Although both parents deny preparing said ketchup-and-cheese sandwiches for us kids and my sister says the thought of such a sandwich “makes her want to hurk,” there’s no denying that ketchup was the star ingredient in my mom’s meatloaf. I was, of course, meatloaf’s number one fan. Just the word “meatloaf” takes me back to those days, standing in the kitchen, watching my mom transform a mound of ground beef into a perfect oval with rapid two-handed pats before she iced the whole thing with ketchup and tossed it into the oven. It killed me that meatloaf took so long to cook. An hour?! Really, Mom? And then, as we (finally) sat down to eat, I’d silently start hoping for leftovers, because the only thing better than Mom’s meatloaf was a cold, leftover meatloaf-and-ketchup sandwich the next day.
Now that I’m all old and mature, my ketchup-and-cheese sandwich has been upgraded to a crusty baguette with hunks of gooey brie, and a taste for wine has replaced my craving for all things ketchup. And meatloaf? Well, I still love it, and this cheesy Marsala-glazed meatloaf recipe puts a classy spin on the nostalgic meal. It’s still got ketchup (as all good meatloaves do), but this one has hunks of gooey, white cheddar cheese and is dressed with a sweet wine glaze. It tastes indulgent and traditional all at once, and it’s a dinner both kids and adults will enjoy.
Dry Marsala wine is fantastic in this recipe (I used Colombo Fine Dry Marsala Wine, which has hints of vanilla and raisin). The meatloaf can be prepared a day ahead and stored covered in the fridge for a hearty, low-stress meal the next day.
Cheesy Marsala-Glazed Meatloaf
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium white onion, diced (about 1.5 cups)
- Salt and pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, diced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 24 ounces ground meat (I used a mix of 93% lean beef and ground pork)
- 1 cup Colombo Fine Dry Marsala Wine
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp sugar
Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, and sauté, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, and sauté one minute more. Transfer onions and garlic to a large bowl to cool.
To the bowl, add the breadcrumbs, ketchup, parsley, Parmigiano Reggiano, thyme, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Stir to combine and adjust seasonings to taste. Add the white cheddar cheese and egg. Stir to combine. Add the ground meat and use your hands to knead the ingredients together, taking care not to over-mix. Transfer meat mixture to a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 150°.
Meanwhile, combine the glaze ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, reduce heat, and continue to gently boil until the liquids have reduced to 1/4 cup (about 15 minutes). Note that the glaze will continue to thicken as it cools. Baste the meatloaf with half of the wine glaze, continue baking 20 minutes more, then baste with the remaining glaze.
Allow meatloaf to cool for ten minutes before slicing.
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
This recipe was created for the 3rd Annual Colombo Marsala & Toscana Saporita Recipe Challenge.