Italian Thanksgiving Stuffing…a family tradition
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!
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 wish everyone a wonderful and blessed holiday with their families and loved ones!