Meatball Meat Loaves with Spinach-Parm Mashers
- 2 pounds starchy potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups packed farm spinach (available in bundles rather than bags in produce section) or baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish, divided
- Black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 slices stale bread, torn
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork and veal mix
- A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 3-4 tablespoons onion, grated
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano (1/3 palmful)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup beef or chicken stock
- 1 can petite diced or crushed tomatoes (15 ounces)
- A few fresh basil leaves, torn
Place the potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Salt the water and boil the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and place them back in the hot pot with the spinach. Stir to combine, cover the pot and let stand for 2-3 minutes to wilt the spinach. Add 1/2 cup milk, 2/3 cup cheese and salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste. Mash the potatoes and spinach and taste to adjust the seasonings.
While the potatoes come to a boil and cook, soak the bread in the remaining cup of milk. Place the meat in a bowl and add the remaining 1/3 cup cheese, parsley, garlic, onion, marjoram or oregano and salt and pepper. Squeeze the excess liquid from the bread and crumble it as you add it to the meat. Mix well to combine and form four oval loaves no more than 2 inches thick at the center.
Heat the EVOO in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the meat loaves to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Pull the loaves out of the pan and add the tomato paste. Stir for 1 minute, then stir the stock and tomatoes into the paste. Set the loaves back in the pan, spoon the sauce over the top and cover with a lid to simmer for 10 minutes more, or until the loaves are cooked through.
Set a loaf on each plate, spoon some spinach potatoes alongside, then spoon the pan sauce over the top. Garnish with basil and the rest of the grated cheese.