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.