Thanksgiving brings families together and this Thanksgiving is sure to be no different. Outside of family of course, what truly makes this holiday special is the big, juicy Thanksgiving turkey, creamy vegetables, and smorgasbord of mouthwatering side dishes that accompany them across a table filled with finger-licking deliciousness.
Naturally, growing up Italian, our dishes are a little different than what you might see on some traditional Thanksgiving dinner tables. From prosciutto and other antipasti to cannoli packed with ricotta and chocolate chips, an Italian Thanksgiving dinner table is loaded with bright flavors and plenty of food. We searched high and low and found these three incredible recipes that we think you and your family are going to love. All three are unique Italian twists on their traditional Thanksgiving courses and will undoubtedly hit home if you grew up Italian. We hope you love them as much as we do! Bon Appétit!
Ps. Don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen this year preparing Thanksgiving dinner? Let us do the heavy lifting while you take all the credit. Our Thanksgiving Holiday Dinner Packages will allow you to sit back and relax while we do all the work.
1. Pancetta-Sage Turkey w/Pancetta-Sage Gravy
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 14- to 16-pound turkey, rinsed, patted dry inside and out; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved for Shortcut Turkey Stock
8 fresh sage sprigs
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Shortcut Turkey Stock or water
1/2 cup diced thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon; about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups Shortcut Turkey Stock
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
For pancetta-sage butter:
With machine running, drop garlic down feed tube of processor and chop. Add pancetta. Pulse to chop finely. Add all remaining ingredients. Pulse blending to coarse paste. Transfer to small bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 325°F. Sprinkle main turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Spread with 2 tablespoons pancetta-sage butter. Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and meat of breast, thighs, and upper drumsticks to loosen skin. Spread remaining butter over thighs, drumsticks, and breast meat under skin. Fill main cavity with herb sprigs. Tie legs loosely to hold shape. Tuck wing tips under.
Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Rub turkey all over with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 2 cups stock into pan.
Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F to 170°F, about 3 hours. Tilt turkey so juices run into pan. Transfer turkey to platter. Tent with foil; let rest at least 30 minutes (temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees). Reserve pan.
Scrape juices and browned bits from roasting pan into large glass measuring cup. Spoon off fat. Reserve 2 tablespoons. Heat 2 tablespoons reserved fat in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pancetta; sauté until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add shallots; sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour; whisk until golden, about 4 minutes. Whisk in 3 cups stock, wine, and degreased pan juices. Bring to boil, whisking. Cook to desired consistency, about 5 minutes. Whisk in rosemary and sage; season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Cornbread Dressing w/Sausage & Fennel
8 cups ½” cubes Easy Savory Cornbread (click for recipe)
1 lb. bulk breakfast sausage or links, casings removed
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, divided, plus more for baking dish
1 medium fennel bulb, chopped, plus fronds for serving
4 celery stalks, chopped
8 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Bosc or Comice pears, peeled, chopped
½ cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram or oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
2 cups (or more) low-sodium chicken broth, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
Preheat oven to 300°. Divide cornbread between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing occasionally, until beginning to brown in spots and dry out, 40–45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spoon, until dark brown, 6–8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a small bowl; let cool.
Reduce heat to medium and heat 8 Tbsp. butter in same skillet. Add fennel, celery, scallions, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Add pears and wine, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wine is almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.
Increase oven temperature to 400°. Butter a 13x9x2” baking dish. Combine sausage, fennel mixture, parsley, marjoram, thyme, sage, and 1½ cups broth in a large bowl. Add cornbread and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Let sit 10 minutes, then add remaining ½ cup broth and toss, adding more broth if needed (bread should be very moist but not soggy). Add eggs and mix gently just to combine. Transfer dressing to prepared baking dish and dot with remaining 2 Tbsp. butter
Cover dressing with foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until dressing is golden and crisp on top, 20–30 minutes longer.
Serve topped with fennel fronds.
DO AHEAD: Cornbread can be toasted 1 day ahead; store tightly wrapped at room temperature. Fennel and sausage mixture can be cooked 1 day ahead. Cover and chill separately.
3. Maple Pot de Créme
2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
3 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
1⁄2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
1 1⁄2 cups milk
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
1⁄3 cup amber Grade B maple syrup
Whipped cream for garnish
Heat oven to 350°.
Combine brown sugar, salt, egg yolks, whole eggs, and vanilla bean in a medium bowl until smooth.
Add milk, cream, and maple syrup, and whisk until smooth; pour through a fine strainer into a large glass measuring cup and divide among eight 4-oz. ramekins or custard cups.
Place ramekins in the bottom of a large roasting pan and place in oven; pour boiling water into pan until it comes halfway up sides of ramekins.
Bake until custards are set on top but slightly loose in the middle, about 1 hour.
Remove from water bath and let cool; refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Serve with dollops of whipped cream on top, if you like.