Layered Meat Loaf


serves 6
30 g (1 oz) 2 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
1 onion, chopped finely
1 small red (bell) pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
500 g (1 lb) minced (ground) lean beef
30 g (1 oz) 1/2 cup soft white breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
90 g (3 oz) short pasta, such as fusilli
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
Cheese Sauce (see below)
175 g (6 oz) streaky bacon rashers, rind removed
salt and pepper
salad leaves, to garnish


1. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat and fry the onion and pepper for about 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further 1 minute.

2. Put the meat into a large bowl and mash it with a wooden spoon until it becomes a sticky paste. Tip in the fried vegetables and stir in the breadcrumbs, cayenne, lemon juice, lemon rind and parsley. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water to which you have added salt and the olive oil. When it is almost tender, drain in a colander. Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce.

4. Grease a 1 kg (2 lb) loaf tin and arrange the bay leaves in the base. Stretch the bacon rashers with the back of a knife blade and arrange them to line the base and the sides of the tin.

5. Spoon in half the meat mixture, level the surface and cover it with the pasta. Spoon in the remaining meat mixture, level the top and cover the tin with foil.

6. Cook the meat loaf in the preheated oven, 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, for 1 hour, or until the juices run clear and the loaf has shrunk away from the sides of the tin. Pour off any excess fat from the tin and turn the loaf out on a warmed serving dish. Garnish with the salad leaves and serve hot.

cheese sauce

30 g (1 oz) 2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
250 ml (8 fl oz) 1 cup milk
2 tbsp single (light) cream
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
45 g (1 1/2 oz) mature (sharp) Cheddar, grated
1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

1. Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.

2. Gradually pour on the milk, stirring all the time. Stir in the cream and season the sauce with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

3. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes to reduce, then remove it from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Stir until the cheeses have melted and blended into the sauce.

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