Italian Cheese-Stuffed Meatloaf

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef

1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil

2 eggs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fresh crack black pepper to taste

1 cup pizza sauce, divided

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese


1. Heat your oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil or non-stick spray. Tear a second, large sheet of foil and set it aside.


2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper, and 1/2 cup of the pizza sauce. Mix well with a rubber spatula or your hands (I think hands work best. Yes, I wear my latex gloves).


3. On the second sheet of foil, shape the beef mixture into a rectangle that's about 12x10-inches. (Still have my latex gloves) Top with the cheese leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Starting at a short end, roll up the meatloaf jelly-roll style. The easiest way to do this is to use the foil as a guide: as you pick up the edge of the foil the meatloaf will want to automatically roll in on itself. As you roll it up try to keep it pretty tight on itself. When you've finished rolling it up, seal the seam  and both ends by gently squishing the meat together. Transfer the meatloaf to your prepared baking sheet, seam side down. 


4. Bake the meatloaf for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, spread the remaining 1/2 cup pizza sauce over the top and sides, and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the loaf is thoroughly cooked in the center (about 160deg). Let the meatloaf rest for 8-10 minutes before slicing.


Makes about 8 1-slice servings.

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