Tuscan Meatloaf with Mushroom Sauce

A tasty Tuscan meatloaf with mushroom sauce. This recipe has an unusual twist of cooking the meatloaf on the stovetop.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Mushroom Soaking time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 oz dried wild mushrooms
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • One 2-in square of white bread, crust removed
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped prosciutto or unsmoked ham
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 lightly beaten egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup unflavored bread crumbs
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine


1 Soak the dried mushrooms in two cups of lukewarm water for half an hour or more.

2 Make the meatloaf mixture: In a bowl, break up the beef with a fork.

In a small bowl, combine the milk and bread, and mash until creamy.

Add the milk and bread to the meat, along with the onion, salt, pepper, prosciutto, cheese, and garlic. Mix thoroughly by hand.

Mix in the lightly beaten egg yolk.

3 Form in to a loaf shape: Shape meat into a firm, round ball; then roll this into a salami-like loaf about two and a half inches thick. Tap with your palm to drive out any air bubbles. Roll the loaf in the bread crumbs until evenly coated.

4 Drain and chop the mushrooms: Drain the mushrooms (reserving the soaking water) and rinse them several times in clean, cold water. Chop the mushrooms roughly and set aside.

Strain the soaking water through a fine sieve lined with paper towels. Whisk the tomato paste into the soaking liquid and set aside.

5 Brown the meatloaf in butter: Heat the butter and vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or heavy casserole pan just big enough for the meat. Brown the meatloaf on all sides in the pan over medium heat after the butter foam subsides.

6 Add wine and reduce: Add the wine. Increase heat to medium high. Boil wine briskly until reduced one half, turning meatloaf carefully once or twice.

7 Add the chopped mushrooms and tomato mushroom water: Turn heat to medium low and add chopped mushrooms. Add the tomato paste mushroom water to the meat and mushrooms.

8 Cover and cook at a simmer for 30 minutes, turning the meat once or twice.

9 Let rest on a cutting board before slicing: Carefully remove meat to a cutting board. Allow it to cool slightly and settle. Cut into slanted slices about 3/8 of an inch thick.

If the sauce seems thin, concentrate it by boiling rapidly for a few minutes. Pour a little sauce on a warm serving platter, arrange the meat slices, then cover the remainder of the sauce.

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  • Judy

    This is a Marcella recipe which appears in several of her books, including ‘Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking’. It is fabulous and I’ve become addicted to it. I’ve been substituting wonderful organic turkey (dark and white mixed) with no loss of flavor. One of the best meatloaf recipes I’ve ever made.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Judy, thanks for telling me the source! I just checked my Marcella cookbook and there it is.

  • Judy

    I made this over the weekend and it was delicious! Like Sam above, I used fresh mushrooms and beef stock for the sauce, and I used olive oil in place of vegetable oil – really rich and yummy (I posted my version on my site with a link to yrs) Thanks for another great recipe. Hmmm now I am thinking of adding onions to the sauce….

  • Sam

    I made this dish tonight. I knew it was a winner when my husband took the first bite and went “mmMMMMMMmmmmmm” (something he rarely does, as food just doesn’t excite him.) I had to make some minor modifications, because the ingredients I had on hand were limited. (I had to use fresh baby bellas, and added a little beef stock since I didn’t have the mushroom water to work with.)

    We served it with garlic mashed potatoes, and by the end of the meal, were scraping the leftover sauce out of the pot with a piece of bread. :)

    This recipe is definitely one for the books. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • dick

    I also am allergic to mushrooms. That is a real pain in the neck since I love Chinese food and so many dishes there use mushrooms. I have learned to make sure the waiter knows that I mean it when I say NO MUSHROOMS.

    Just an idea from a small restaurant I used to go to in Covington, Ky. They make an Oriental sweet and sour chicken salad that has mushrooms in it. When I told them I am allergic to mushrooms but the rest of it sounded great, they made it using crumbled up bacon and caramelized onions instead of mushrooms. It works great and in fact a friend who is a big mushroom fan liked the version they made for me better.

    I would think the combination would work well here also. I have done this with several things where the mushrooms would be an integral part of the dish and the replacement works just fine.

  • Kev in Alaksa

    Ever since I first tried this recipe, it has been a huge hit. I have used ground turkey breast, and it’s just as great.

  • Michael

    My mom made this for Sunday dinner today, after I sent her the link to the recipe. It’s AWESOMELY good, and now we can’t wait until it’s fall again to make some polenta to go with the sauce.

  • Ed Arita

    Think Garlic Smashed Potatoes are great – try good steamed Japanese medium-grain white rice (WOW!), steamed whole green beans or asparagus, an Italian green salad and mango iced tea! Think your guests will ever leave?! Mine are still here!! Aloha!

  • j

    I saw this recipe yesterday morning and just had to go out the buy the stuff. We had it last night and it was excellent. My boyfriend couldn’t stop raving about it…”the flavors in this meatloaf are so layered and complex”. That’s what he said and to be honest, we’re not meatloaf eaters at all. We loved this and are going to keep it around for a long time.

  • Harrison

    The temperature hit 81 in Seattle yesterday. And in my apartment, it was much warmer. I had promised my buddies a meatloaf. Luckily, this easy and delicious recipe kept us cool while filling our bellies.

  • Alice

    I made this last night and it was great and easy. I had lots of left over sauce too so I’m having for lunch today on the left over potatoes. Glad to hear you can use fresh mushrooms too.


  • Cary

    I made this last night for dinner and it was amazing! I rarely use recipes anymore, but I followed this onealmost to a “T” because everyone at work who saw the picture wanted to know how it turned out (and I knew they would be following it). I wouldn’t change a thing: tangy, zesty, juicy, the sauce was wonderful…I already have plans to make more sauce for other uses! Thank you for sharing…
    (I used pancetta instead of prosciutto because I knew I could use the rest of it up this week)


  • Andi

    Eric, thanks for the info. It looks like I’ll actually have to read the manual after all :/

  • Culinary Artist

    Sounds like a great recipe and looks delish! Thanx for posting. A thought for subbing out mushrooms, maybe caramelize some red onions with a splash of balsamic vinegar then use beef broth in place of mushroom soaking liquid. I like the idea of the meatball version as well, lots of ways to vary use of the main recipe. This goes onto the to do list for the week!

  • Eric

    Trivection is a GE Profile oven thing, from their site:

    Trivection Technology
    The combination of three heating sources produces delicious results up to five times faster than a traditional thermal oven.

    They apparently use heat from different sources (convection, microwave, and heating elements above and below), hence “tri” vection.

  • Susan

    Made it last night YUM!!! the sauce is fantastic I could only find Pocini dried mushrooms; so the flavor of mushrooms was strong.
    Loving also the size of the loaf great for a family of 4 leaving just enough for a sandwich the next day.
    Thank you for your site, you do a fantastic job at keeping my dinner table fresh and exciting.
    Cheers from Canada EH!

  • Elise Bauer

    Hi Rebecca – Great question. I guess a 2″ square could be either a slice or a quarter of a slice, depending on how you thought about it. The bread we usually have around here is Italian or French loaf, unsliced, so I imagine that my father just took a chunk of the bread.

    Hi Matt (Suburban Gourmet) – Love it! I’m so glad you made it with fresh mushrooms. They are often easier to come by than dried, and much less expensive. So it’s great to know that this recipe works with fresh mushrooms as well.

    Hi Andi – You’ve got me stumped. “Trivection” any one?

    Hi Rathi – Allergic to mushrooms? What a shame. I wouldn’t substitute anything, but would just make it without the mushrooms and see how it turns out.

  • Andi

    Being as I have yet figured out how to use the oven in our new house (someone please tell me what “Trivection” means), this is perfect. Thanks!

  • Espahan

    This looks marvelous. Yummy! One idea, I found in a magazine featuring Italian recipes, was using left over meatballs to make lasagna. I think it would work with leftovers in this meat-loaf recipe.

  • Rebecca

    Do you really mean a 2″ square of bread, and would that be about the same as a slice? That seems like such a strange measurement. This reminds me of a Marcella Hazan recipe for winter meatballs with a similar method, mashing bread and milk, mixing pancetta and parmesan into the meat, rolling the meatballs in breadcrumbs before browning. Really delicious. I can’t wait to try this!

  • From belgium

    Strange, I can’t remember ever having meatloaf coming out of the oven… Stove-top is how it should be done!

    As an alternative, shape the meat around a cooked egg (remove shell first…). We call it “birdnests”

  • linda

    Can I substitute something for the wine and what would that sub be.