Mini Meatloaf with Habanero Spiked Ketchup

I am bringing meatloaf back to the dinner party.  For people who like meat, most enjoy a good meatloaf.  I don’t know if it’s nostalgia or they just like it but I’m one of those people.  Yet it’s mostly considered a family night meal and not necessarily something you’d serve for company.  So I thought I’d try to dress it up a bit and maybe change it’s reputation.  I made free-form little meatloafs so each person can have their own and I added pancetta and cooked onions into the mixture, along with some ricotta cheese for a more tender texture.  But my favorite part is the Habanero spiked ketchup.  It sounds like it’s going to be spicy but it’s not.  It’s a very mild spice.  You can make the ketchup ahead of time and store it in the fridge for weeks.  And you can add more or less spice to it.  It will taste a little spicy on it’s own but it really mellows with the meat so give it an extra kick if you like spice.  Serve with a beautiful salad and it’s a perfect meal for entertaining!
Habanero spiked ketchup

  1. Preheat the broiler. Place the Habaneros on a sheet of foil and under the broiler, a few inches away.  Broil until each side is side is slightly blackened.  The habanero has a delicate skin so you don’t want to over cook it or it will be difficult to remove the skin from the flesh, blistered is best.
  2. Remove from the oven and (wearing gloves) remove the stem, skin and seeds.  Chop well until it’s almost a paste.
  3. Add some of Habaneros and all of the ketchup to the bowl of a small food processor.  Using a spatula puree the mixture, scraping down the sides several times to make sure all the Habanero is well incorporated.  Taste and add more of the Habanero, if desired.  The end result should be a definite kick but it’s almost subtle at first and then builds on you as you taste more.
  4. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.  This is one that gets better if it sits for a day to let the flavors really meld together.  Will last several weeks.


  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the pancetta.  Cook the pancetta for 3-4 minutes or so they start to get a little bit crisp and then add in the onions and a pinch of red pepper flakes and a little bit of salt and pepper.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, and then add in the garlic during the last 30 seconds.  Remove from the skillet and let cool slightly in a large bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the ground beef to the cooked onion and pancetta mixture.  Salt and pepper the meat and then add in the eggs, parsley, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1 cup parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese.  Mix with your hands to incorporate all the ingredients equally. 
  3. Form the meat into 4 equal sized loafs. Place on the baking sheet and evenly spread the Habanero ketchup over the top using a rubber spatula.  Coat it well, including the sides.  There is a lot of flavor in the ketchup so be generous.  Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and drizzle the tops with a little bit of olive oil.  Bake for about 22-25 minutes.  Place under the broiler until the tops are browned (watch carefully).  Place on a cooling rack to drain off any excess fat, serve warm with extra ketchup on the side.
Habanero spiked ketchup
2 Habanero peppers

1 1/2  cups ketchup

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 oz diced pancetta

½ cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Pinch, red pepper flakes

1 lb ground beef

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, divided into 2

2 eggs

2 teaspoons dried parsley

2/3 cup ricotta cheese

1 ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided into 1 cup and 1/4



Serves 4 

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