THANKSGIVING ITALIAN STYLE


An Italian family celebrates Thanksgiving slightly different than other families.

Along with the traditional turkey, stuffing and cranberries, we sneak in artichokes, pasta, and meatballs along with excellent desserts other than a pumpkin pie.

Some people would think the turkey would be enough but not us.

We have to use the holiday as an excuse to indulge ourselves in our favorite dishes that we don’t make throughout the year.

In an Italian household the turkey better have an attitude or we won’t eat it.

By attitude I mean it must be clean, seasoned and well dressed.

When you slap on the butter and the turkey slaps you back you know you have a good one.

So the first recipe in this special Thanksgiving edition will focus on the Turkey then we’ll continue on with apps, sides and other dishes.

From my famiglia to yours Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

 

 

Roast Turkey

INGREDIENTS

 

  • 1 Turkey – 14 to 16 pounds
  • 3 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cups of fresh sage, broken into pieces
  • 1/4 cup of fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp of poultry seasoning
  • 2 large yellow onion, cut into quarters
  • 6 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 6 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 apple, quartered
  • 1 15oz can of chicken broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 Tbl of salt
  • 1 Tbls of fresh ground black pepper

    PREPARATION

  • Remove the giblets and the neck from the cavity. Either set aside to make gravy or discard.
  • Wash the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water and pat dry.
  • Loosen the skin from the breast by placing your fingers under the skin and separating it from the breast meat creating a pocket.
  • Cream together the butter, sage, rosemary and poultry seasoning.
  • Place some of the butter mixture under the turkey skin and under the skin of the legs. Save some for basting.
  • Insert 1 onion, 3 stalks of celery, 3 carrots and the apples into the turkey cavity.
  • Tie back the legs and wings with string.
  • Place the remaining vegetables in a shallow roasting pan,
  • Add the chicken broth and water to the pan
  • Place the turkey breast side up on top of the vegetables.
  • Season the turkey with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the remaining butter in the microwave and brush the entire turkey with the butter.
  • Loosely cover the turkey with a piece of aluminum foil.
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the turkey in the oven and cook approximately 30 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 to 180 degrees.
  • Continue basting the turkey with the remaining butter throughout this time.
  • Remove the foil during the last 45 minutes of cooking to brown the top.
  • When fully cooked remove the turkey from the oven and let stand for 30 minutes before carving. Reserve the liquid at the bottom of the pan to make the gravy.

    Serves 8 to 10 people

 

  • Turkey Gravy

    INGREDIENTS

  • Pan drippings
  • 2 Tbls of flour

    PREPARATION

  • To make the gravy I place the roasting pan on the two burners of the stove. NOTE: Do Not do this if you are using a glass baking dish or it may shatter. If you are using a glass dish then transfer the pan drippings to a saucepan making sure you scrape all the bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan
  • Remove the carrots and celery and discard or serve with the turkey
  • Heat the drippings until bubbly while scrapping the bits at the bottom of the pan and reduce to about half.
  • Reduce the heat and whisk in 2 Tbls of flour until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

    Serve Hot

 

 

  • Simple Onions, Celery and Sage Stuffing

    INGREDIENTS

  • 4 loaves of white bread
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 can of chicken broth
  • 2 tbls of rubbed sage or 1/2 cup of fresh sage leaves broken into pieces.
  • 1 Tbls of poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of fresh ground black pepper

    PREPARATION

  • A couple days before cooking, spread all the slices of bread out on a paper towel covered table until they are stale, dry and crisp. This should take at least 2 days. Turn them once after the first day.
  • The day your going to make the stuffing place the slices of bread a few at a time in a large bowl of warm water.
  • When the bread absorbs the water, squeeze them dry and place the bread in a separate large bowl.
  • In a large frying pan, sauté the onions and celery in the butter until tender.
  • Add the sage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for around 2 minutes more.
  • Add the broth and heat through.
  • Carefully pour the celery mixture over the bread and mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the stuffing in a glass baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top and sides are crisp.

    Note: I don’t like cooking stuffing inside the turkey. I always make it separate.

    Serves 8 to 10 people

 

 

  • Fresh Whole Cranberries

    INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups of whole cranberries
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of water

    PREPARATION

  • Simmer the cranberries and water together until the cranberries are tender.
  • Add the sugar and cover and cook for around 10 minutes.

    Makes 2 cups

 

 

  • My Famous Garlic Mashed Potatoes

    INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large white potatoes peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 bunch of long green onions chopped
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup of bacon bits
  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • 1 Tbl of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of milk of whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

    PREPARATION

  • Boil potatoes in 4 quarts of water until tender.
  • Sauté onions and garlic for 2 minutes in oil and 1/4 stick of butter.
  • Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl.
  • Mix all the ingredients together with an egg beater or Kitchen Aid until potatoes are smooth and fluffy.

    These potatoes are so good.

 

 

  • Creamy Green Beans and Mushrooms

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 10 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbls of butter
  • 1 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds of fresh string beans
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh grated black pepper

    PREPARATION

  • In a large frying pan sauté the onions and mushrooms in the butter until tender.
  • Add the sting beans and broth to the pan.
  • Cover and cook until tender. Around 10 minutes
  • Add the cream and heat through.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

 

 

  • Stuffed Shells

    INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1lb. boxes of jumbo shells
  • 4 lbs of ricotta cheese
  • 3 balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of fresh grated fontanella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cups of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbls of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp of salt

    PREPARATION

  • In 8 quarts of boiling salted water, cook the shells until al dente. Around 6 to 8 minutes.
  • In a large bowl mix together the ricotta, mozzarella, fontanella, parmesan, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper.
  • Place some of the meat sauce at the bottom of a large baking dish.
  • Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture and arrange them in the baking dish.
  • Top with sauce and a little more mozzarella.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes until heated through.

    Serves 8 to 10 people

 

 

  • Butternut Squash Risotto

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2oz of pancetta, diced
  • 20 sprigs of fresh sage leaves
  • 6 Tbls of butter
  • 2 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 Tsp of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese

    PREPARATION

  • Peel the squash and cut in half and remove the seeds.
  • Dice the squash and place them on a cookie sheet.
  • Drizzle with a little olive oil, season with a little salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes until fork tender. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer.
  • In a large pot sauté the shallots, garlic, pancetta and 4 sage leaves in the butter and oil for around 6 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice and coat well with the butter and oil.
  • Add the wine.
  • Add the broth 1 cup at a time stirring until each cup is absorbed by the rice.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the squash and parmesan cheese.
  • In a separate pan heat 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil and fry the remaining sage leaves until crisp.

    Plate the risotto and top with fried sage leaves.

    Serves 4 to 6 people

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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