For many of us, cooking with grandma and/or grandpa, in person or in memory, is a quintessential part of Thanksgiving. Whether you pack into the car to drive with your family, fly into their town, or have a group FaceTime to share the day’s sentiments, giving thanks together is special. And beyond the shared family time, Thanksgiving is the holiday marked by a feast! A meal with turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, green beans, and the best dish around — stuffing. This stuffing recipe is extra special as it’s straight from the kitchen of my grandpa, Orazio. It’s a recipe my great grandma made and my grandparents continued to make as they grew their family, with my grandpa perfecting it into what it is today (the best stuffing ever!). It’s now my mom’s most requested dish and a staple on our family’s Thanksgiving (and Christmas) table.
Note: Before you start step 1, if you have time you can leave the bread out overnight and then decrease the oven time. Either way at the end of step 1, the bread shouldn't have any moisture. If you have stale bread, now is the time to use it!
*If using chicken instead of pork, the meat will come out a little drier, so you’ll want to incorporate olive oil (rather than spray) when cooking the sausage.
Notes: You can prep a lot of this dish ahead of time or even make it a day or two before (without the final step of cooking in the oven), and that will allow all the flavors to marry together. If you would prefer not to use mild and spicy sausage, you can use one or the other, or this recipe can also be made with your favorite ground meat to make it your own.
My family prefers stuffing that’s a bit drier, but if needed, after about 20 mins of cooking, remove the stuffing from oven and toss. If it looks too dry for your liking, drizzle and mix a bit of chicken stock on top to moisten. Cover again and place back into the oven to continue to cook for the remaining 10 minutes.
Sometimes we also broil at the end for a crunchy finish. Or, you can even add pine nuts on top, extra cheese, or no tomatoes. My family likes a more meaty stuffing, but some prefer meat to bread ratio about 50/50, so add more bread cubes if you’d like, or even spice it up with crushed red pepper, or mix Parmesan Reggiano with Pecorino Romano. It’s your stuffing to enjoy, from our family to yours!
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