This is an Italian meatloaf baked in a no-cook tomato sauce and it’s Oh My Goodness so delicious. The sauce is made in a bowl and cooked with the meatloaf, where the flavor from the meat and spices seep into the sauce while it bakes.
I want to start off by saying my Mom makes an incredible meatloaf, but this isn’t Mom’s Meatloaf. Hers is in a class all by itself. It should be in the meatloaf hall of fame. Nonetheless, my Italian meatloaf, although different, can also stand alone in it’s own class.
What makes this Italian meatloaf so delicious?
First, start off with good hamburger. Ground chuck is preferred. The meat has to have at some fat content; 15% is good. Leave the lean hamburger for something else. Treat yourself to the best beef you can buy. I personally buy angus 85% lean, as it gives the dish a rich, juicy, and delicious flavor. You are worth it.
Moving on to the next step, the combination of both ricotta cheese with a little milk adds moisture without turning the meatloaf into a pile of greasy meat. I actually found the ricotta to be an important ingredient (entirely by accident!) during my test-trial process. It was the only thing I had available at the time, so I went with it and haven’t turned back since! Seriously, the ricotta adds a thick richness, flavor and texture to the meat that makes the dish all the more savory. Isn’t that what cooking is about? Use what you have and add a little bit of this and a little bit of that until you find the perfect marriage.
As for spices, I go with the usual salt, pepper, garlic and onion. Some chopped fresh parsley always makes things taste better. My uncle Tony would add it to his dishes, and trust me, it makes all the difference.
Let’s talk about parsley for a minute. It’s usually a buck for a bunch at your local market. Buy it, rinse it, shake off the excess, and chop up however much you want to accomodate to your taste preferences. What to do with the remaining parsley? Well, you can wrap a damp paper towel around the stems, place it in a paper bag, and put it in the fridge until you need it for another recipe. Or, you can place it in a glass of water and put it on the counter and it will stay fresh for a couple of days until you need it. Don’t need it yet? Simply cut off the stems, chop up the parsley, place in a zip top freezer bag, and freeze it. When you need it, it’s there. If you don’t feel like chopping it before freezing it, freeze it whole.
Now for the onion, I use dehydrated onion flakes(affiliate link). You can find it in the supermarket and it is an extreme time saver. I’m all about using real ingredients, and dehydrated onion flakes are exactly what its name implies. Get some and use it when you just don’t feel like chopping onions. If you don’t have it when making this recipe, simply use granulated onion powder(affiliate link). Granulated onion is grainier than onion powder. If you want to use a real onion, grate it so that it melts directly into the meat.
No cook sauce? Talk to me!
This is the same sauce I use for my Stuffed Peppers with Sausage and Mozzarella. Just mix the ingredients and pour into a casserole dish. The sauce cooks as it bakes. It becomes thick and savory from the flavor released by the meat.
Finally, set the meatloaf on top, spoon some sauce over the loaf, and sprinkle with some grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for an hour and ¡voila! You have an incredibly delicious, moist Italian style meatloaf.
Look at that! It might look pretty but I’m all about the flavor and less about a pretty picture. The cheese is melted and forms a crust on top. The sauce is dark, thick, and flavorful! Oh my! I wish I could slice you a piece. Leftovers make great sandwiches too!
This pairs well with:
Be happy, eat well.
Italian Meatloaf Baked In No Cook Tomato Sauce
- 3 pounds ground beef 85% lean preferably angus
- ¾ cup ricotta whole milk
- ¾ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 3 tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes or 1 tablespoon granulated onion
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoons pepper
No Cook Tomato Sauce:
- 1 (28 ounce) can ground peeled tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven 400 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the tomato sauce ingredients. Once combined, pour into a 9x13 baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mix all meatloaf ingredients together until just combined. Do not overmix or the meatloaf will turn out tough.
- Form into a loaf and place into a baking dish on top of sauce. Spoon some sauce all over the top of the meatloaf. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 1 hour. The sauce will be dark and thick.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve with sauce. Enjoy!