How to Make Palpettoni, Step by Step

  • 01 of 12

    Let's Make Palpettoni!

    Palpettoni Step 1
    Palpettoni Step 1. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    Palpettoni is an old family recipe my mother made in the 1970s. I've updated it a bit and added my own twist. This delicious mini meatloaf is stuffed with an onion and rice mixture, then topped with tomato sauce and cheese and baked.

    To start, preheat the oven to 375 F. Then gather your ingredients. You'll need 4 slices of bacon, 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown rice (or one package microwave brown rice), 1 pound ground beef, 1 egg yolk, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 8 ounces prepared creamy French onion or garlic snack dip, 8 ounce can tomato sauce, 1 cup shredded Havarti or mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves.

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  • 02 of 12

    Start by Cooking the Rice

    Palpettoni Step 2
    Palpettoni Step 2. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    Cook the 1/3 cup brown rice in 2/3 cup water on the stovetop until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. This takes about 35 to 40 minutes. Or you can use microwavable brown rice, which is what I did to save time. It's a fabulous product and takes 4 minutes of cooking. Use half of a package—you need 1 cup of cooked rice.

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  • 03 of 12

    Cook the Bacon

    Palpettoni Step 3
    Palpettoni Step 3. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    Then you need to cook the bacon. There are several ways to cook bacon: you can fry it, bake it, or cook it in the microwave oven. I bought some microwaveable bacon for this recipe. You just microwave it until it's evenly brown. Cool on paper towels and crumble into small pieces; set aside.

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  • 04 of 12

    Combine Meatloaf Ingredients

    Palpettoni Step 4
    Palpettoni Step 4. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    In medium bowl, combine the ground beef, egg yolk, crumbled crisp bacon, and pepper. Mix with a spoon or your hands, working gently, until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Do not overwork the mixture or the meatloaf will be tough.

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  • 05 of 12

    Pat Ground Beef Mixture into Rectangles

    Palpettoni Step 5
    Palpettoni Step 5. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    Tear off a strip of waxed paper about 18 inches long. Place it on the work surface. Divide the ground beef mixture into four equal balls and place them about 10" apart on the waxed paper.

    Gently pat the ground beef mixture into four rectangles, each about 4 inches x 6 inches. Make sure there are no holes or weak spots in the ground beef.

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  • 06 of 12

    Combine Rice and Dip

    Palpettoni Step 6
    Palpettoni Step 6. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    In a small bowl, combine the rice and the dip. Mix well.

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  • 07 of 12

    Top Ground Beef with Rice

    Palpettoni Step 7
    Palpettoni Step 7. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    Now divide the rice mixture on top of the ground beef rectangles. Leave about 1 inch of the ground beef edges exposed, because the rice mixture will spread when the little rectangles are rolled. Spread the rice mixture into an even layer on top of the beef.

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  • 08 of 12

    Roll Up the Mini Meatloaves

    Palpettoni Step 8
    Palpettoni Step 8. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    Now comes the tricky part! Use the waxed paper to help you roll up the mini meatloaves. They will just roll over once, enclosing the rice filling. Start from the short end and coax the meatloaf mixture off the waxed paper. Start at the ends of the waxed paper and roll them toward each other so you can do two at once. That's why we used such a big sheet of waxed paper!

    Be sure you don't roll the waxed paper into the meatloaf. Take your time with this step. It's easier than it looks!

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  • 09 of 12

    Arrange Filled Meatloaves in Pan

    Palpettoni Step 9
    Palpettoni Step 9. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    Now use a spatula to transfer the meatloaves, one at a time, into a 10 to 12-inch square glass baking dish. Make sure you don't rip the paper when you slip the spatula under the meat. Use a thin but wide spatula for best results.

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  • 10 of 12

    Top Meatloaves with Tomato Sauce, Cheese, and Marjoram

    Palpettoni Step 10
    Palpettoni Step 10. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    Now pour the tomato sauce over the meatloaves, then sprinkle with the dried marjoram. Top with the shredded Havarti cheese and the Parmesan cheeses.

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  • 11 of 12

    Bake the Palpettoni

    Palpettoni Step 11
    Palpettoni Step 11. The Spruce / Linda Larsen

    Bake the Palpettoni at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes. The cheese will be melted and the meatloaf will register 160 F on a meat thermometer; make sure the thermometer isn't pushed into the rice filling, although by this time the beef should be thoroughly cooked as long as your oven is accurate. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

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  • 12 of 12


    Italian meatloaf
    burwellphotography / Getty Images

    Serve the Palpettoni with some garlic bread and green beans and dig in.