Meatloaf just doesn’t get any respect. It has never been able to rise above the ranks of “home cooked meal.” While other comfort foods such as mashed potatoes and mac and cheese have found their ways onto all but the most snobbish of menus, meatloaf hasn’t made many inroads. Sure, it has seen brief moments of popularity, and there are a few chefs out there that regularly menu meatloaf, but on a whole it has never caught on beyond home cooking.

That’s too bad, because meatloaf is one of those infinitely variable dishes. It can be made “old school” like Mom used to, with “ketchup glaze” and Lipton’s French Onion Soup mix or it can be flavored with any variety of herbs and spices, recalling the flavors of a world of cuisines, from Mexican to Indian to German.

Meatloaf is also great for busy families. It can easily be put together in the morning and left in the fridge all day long, while people are at work, then when someone arrives home, all that needs to be done is to toss it in the oven to bake. You can’t get much more simple than that.

I have to admit though, as much of a fan as I am of the humble meatloaf, I definitely prefer it the day after. It makes the perfect sandwich and it is one of the few leftovers that never spoil when I am around. This recipe makes exceptionally good sandwiches and my wife didn’t get much of a chance to eat this, beyond the first night.

Italian Meatloaf

serves 4 with leftovers for sandwiches the next day

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz. sun dried tomatoes, rehydrated and chopped
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Saute the mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until they release all their juices. Add garlic and continue to saute until dry. Cool to room temperature. Combine with all remaining ingredients and form into a free form loaf approximately 5-6″ wide and about 12-14″ long.

Place in a preheated oven and bake, at 350°F, for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer, inserted into the center, reads 155°F. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.