The summer after my sophomore year of school at the U of M, I had to spend 5 weeks taking a summer course and lived in an off-campus apartment. It was my first time living on my own without being in a dorm or using a meal plan. Those 5 weeks were so liberating. I felt like an independent adult for the first time. I had my own (very cheap) set of pots and pans, dishes and cookware....but I loved it. I enjoyed every moment of coming home from class and cooking for myself, and having no one to answer to.
During those 5 weeks, Dusty was back home on the farm for the summer and came to visit me for a weekend. On the first night he was in town, I was so excited to see him and I wanted to impress him by making him this dish. Since I had previously lived in the dorms, we usually heated up chicken sticks and french fries at his apartment for dinner, so it felt pretty special to have him over at my apartment and cooking him something that didn't involve reheating.
Even 4 years later, whenever I make this dish we always bring up that time when I first made it for him. It's funny how some recipes can stay with you for so long and have so much meaning, even if it is years later. It totally supports my theory that you can win someone's heart through their stomach!
Italian Mini-Meatloaf Pasta
-1 pound lean Ground Beef
-1/3 Seasoned Bread Crumbs
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-14 ounce jar of Onion & Garlic Pasta Sauce
-1/4 tsp Salt
-1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
-8 ounces of sliced Mushrooms
-1 tbsp Olive Oil
-8 ounces of Fettuccine Pasta
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
-Fresh chopped Parlsey
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, 1/3 cup pasta sauce, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands to combine. Cut the mozzarella sticks in half crosswise so there are 4 small sticks of cheese total. Divide the beef mixture into fourths and shape the beef mixture to form a loaf. Flatten the loafs a bit with the palm of your hand so they will bake evenly. Place the mini-meat loaves on the slightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes until no longer pink.
While the meat loaves are baking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add in the sliced mushroom and saute until they start to become golden brown and soft. Pour in the rest of the pasta sauce and simmer on low while the meat loaves continue to bake. Prepare the pasta according to package directions and drain well. Return the cooked fettuccine to the saucepan with the pasta sauce and continue to simmer.
To serve, arrange the mini-meat loaves over the fettuccine and sprinkle with parmesan and parsley.