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Italian Thanksgiving Stuffing…a family tradition

by Aggies Kitchen on November 20, 2008

So I think I’ll get one last post in before we leave for Tennessee. Because we are getting back from our trip late Wednesday night (Thanksgiving Eve), I wanted to cook what I could ahead of time and throw it in the freezer at my Mom’s so it will be easier for us on Thanksgiving morning. So here I am, one week exactly from the big day, cooking up one of my favorite things to eat on Thanksgiving, my Nonna’s stuffing. 

This is the only stuffing I know…with my family being from Sicily, Thanksgiving wasn’t really a big holiday for us. We celebrated it, but I wouldn’t say it was as traditional as most families I knew. We had the turkey, but up until probably high school, we would eat Manicotti or a big plate of Ziti before the turkey even hit the table. I never even knew what Green Bean Casserole was until I was in college. Sweet Potato Casserole?…I think I first had that when I was engaged to my husband. This stuffing is not very traditional, but I love it and look forward to it every year.

My Nonna usually makes the stuffing, but over the years my mom, sister and I have taken on most of the cooking for the big holidays, you know how it goes. This is the first year I am making the stuffing on my own though…with a few phonecalls to the family, I think I did it right. I improvised a bit, but after eating my sample, I can say that it is definitely close to hers!

Hope you don’t mind, but I don’t have an “exact” recipe…this isn’t one of those foods that has to be perfect – my favorite kind of food to cook!

 

(This is right before I added the stuffing…)

Nonna’s Stuffing

2.5-3 lbs ground beef or ground sausage (I used ground turkey Italian sausage this year – some of us can’t eat red meat)
1 lb box of Ditalini pasta (short tubes), cooked
2 boxes of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained well
5 -6 eggs, beaten
1/2-3/4 bag of herbed stuffing (I used Pepperidge Farms, blue bag)
can of low sodium chicken broth (I don’t think this was ever used before, but I think it adds great flavor and I like how the stuffing absorbs the liquid)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook 1 lb pasta in boiling salted water.

While pasta is cooking, brown ground beef or sausage in large saute pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Let cooked pasta and meat cool, combine into large bowl. Add chopped spinach to bowl and mix to combine. Add stuffing and continue to stir. Add beaten eggs, salt and pepper to mixture and mix well.

Pour mixture into baking dishes (I used corning ware). Pour chicken stock over stuffing, I used a little less than 1 can for 2 large corning ware dishes. Cover the casseroles and place into 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes until cooked through and starting to brown. At this point, take cover off casseroles and let cook for another 5-10 minutes so top gets golden brown and crunchy.

 

(I really enjoyed this for lunch today!)

 

Aggie’s Kitchen will be closed for the next week…
I wish everyone a wonderful and blessed holiday with their families and loved ones! 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica November 20, 2008 at 9:36 pm

ugh- are you sure you have to go? I will miss your posts too much! This stuffing looks incredible and unique! I wish I was in charge of the stuffing- I would make this! Have sooooo much fun! Can’t wait to read about your trip ;)

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Lisa November 20, 2008 at 10:10 pm

I’ve never had stuffing with pasta before.My grandmother cooked more northern Italy so her stuffing was the kind with Luganega(a type of Italian sausage). I will have to try it. We would have antipasto and either lasagna or tortellini first. By the time turkey came no one was hungry. And I never had a sweet potato casserole either.We will miss you. Have a nice week and a happy Thanksgiving!

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Lucy November 20, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Lisa… I too have never seen a stuffing w/pasta and that looks sooooo good!! Thanksgiving was pretty much the same w/the Italian goodies and the turkey and all it’s fix’ins came last and ….. who could eat another bite!!! So after many pleas, we convinced Mom to cut out the pasta dishes… eventually we had a very normal TG w/all the fix’ins.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!!!

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Pam November 21, 2008 at 5:50 am

Yum. I love this stuffing. I’ve never had stuffing with pasta but it looks and sounds amazing. Have a great trip and Happy Thanksgiving.

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Sarah November 21, 2008 at 11:50 am

Happy T-giving and enjoy your trip! I love the fact that you sub in ground turkey sausage with good results; I’m always looking for new recipes that steer away from beef. Please pass a generous plateful of that down to me :)

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Katherine Aucoin November 21, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Your stuffing looks so rich and savory. I would love to try this since I haven’t had stuffing with pasta in it before. Hope you have a wonderful time in the Smokies – stay warm!

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Colleen November 21, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Wow, this looks amazing! I have starred this and can’t wait to try it!

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Kaitlin November 21, 2008 at 5:23 pm

this looks delicious!

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Paula November 21, 2008 at 5:33 pm

Oh Aggie, I’m sure you’ll make Nonna proud! This looks so delicious; I’ve never seen a stuffing like this. I’d love to eat this anytime, not just on Thanksgiving. YUM! Hope you have a wonderful trip!

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Maria November 21, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Wow, your stuffing looks so much better than the regular stuff! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Mary Ann November 21, 2008 at 6:13 pm

This looks super delicious! How fun to have a family recipe that you have made traditionally every year. I hope you have a great trip. I love driving in the South, especially from Fl to TN, because then you get to go through Ga. Have a lovely time! I will look forward to your return!~

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JennDZ - The Leftover Queen November 21, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Hey Aggie! That reminds me of Thanksgiving with my grandparents. We always started with Italian wedding soup and then ravioli and THEN the turkey. My grandmother always made a sausage stuffing too – but no pasta! Man those were the days! Glad to see you are keeping the traditions alive! :)

Have a great time on your trip!

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Aggie November 21, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Thank you all so so much for all the kind comments! I love hearing about all the other Italians that got stuffed on pasta before turkey!

Have a wonderful holiday!!

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Mandy November 22, 2008 at 1:06 am

Stuffing is one of my favorite dishes at Thanksgiving. Aparantly lots of people think like I do. I put a poll on my blog and stuffing is winning as a favorite. Love this recipe Aggie, thanks for sharing.

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mikky November 22, 2008 at 3:53 am

what a great stuffing… thanks for sharing your family tradition… happy thanksgiving… :)

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Gina November 23, 2008 at 3:23 pm

the stuffing looks incredible! thank you so much for posting the recipe!
have a wonderful time in tennessee!

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priscilla November 24, 2008 at 1:50 am

hope you have a great vacation, i’m sure it was fun!

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Annie November 24, 2008 at 2:51 am

OOh pasta in stuffing? Looks delicious! I love stuffing, it’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner!
Have a great trip and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Theresa November 25, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Aggie, I never seen stuffing like this before. We used to have pasta before the turkey too. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Kirsten November 25, 2008 at 2:16 pm

My husband’s family is Italian and they make a VERY similar stuffing every year. I had never had it before I met him, and now I love it. Have a great Thanksgiving!!

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Jenny November 26, 2008 at 4:36 am

Beautiful Stuffing Aggie! Enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend!

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Clumbsy Cookie November 28, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Stuffing with pasta?! Hpw cool is that?! Hope you have a safe trip!

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ttfn300 December 2, 2008 at 1:04 pm

hmm, this is an interesting take on stuffing… i’m not a fan, but this might intrigue me enough to give it atry :)

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Niki November 23, 2010 at 10:48 am

I have never seen stuffing with pasta…SO Italian, i LOVE it, can’t believe i have never thought about this.

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Liz @ The Lemon Bowl November 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

omg – I need to make this for my husband!!! He will love this (and will love feeling closer to his Italian family.)

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