Every year I make a Maple, Sage, and Sausage stuffing for Thanksgiving so I decided to try a different recipe from my father’s cookbook to see if it would pair with our turkey dinner next week. It is delicious and the perfect stuffing to serve in the fall with the vibrant red color from the peppers. This stuffing is very hearty and filling. My husband said if I added a lot more stock it would make an excellent soup.
Since it is so hearty, you can easily serve this as a meal. I will make it again but stick with the old stand by for Thanksgiving. It is a tradition now and I know my family will be disappointed if I do not serve it.
To simplify things, I bought the precut, day old bread from Whole Foods so I did not have to cut and toast the cubes. I am a fan of their Hearth Style breads since they use whole wheat flour and do not add any preservatives. I only used one bag so you do not need to buy the two displayed in the picture. It went a lot further than I estimated.
If you are wanting to use old french bread, then follow these directions from America’s Test Kitchen. “Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 250 degrees. Spread bread cubes in even layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake until edges have dried but centers are slightly moist (cubes should yield to pressure), 45 to 60 minutes, stirring several times during baking. (Bread can be toasted up to 1 day in advance.)”
Now here is how you cook this Italian Style Stuffing.
1) Dice the 2 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, 2 celery stalks, and 2 organic red peppers. Add 2 tablespoons or more of olive oil to your large sauce pan and heat. Add the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes until you can smell the aromatics. Add the sweet sausage and break up the meat with the spoon. Cook until all the pink is gone for around 10 minutes. Whole Foods removed the casing for me to simplify things at home. I am sure they will accomodate you as well.
2) Add 2 teaspoons of Tuscan Himalayan Pink Salt or 1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary and 1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage and 1/2 teaspoon of high quality salt. The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of basil and 1 teaspoon of oregano which can easily be used. I chose rosemary and sage to compliment the turkey flavorings. Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne or 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper.
3) Add the 7 cups of bread cups, 1 cup of grated parmesan, 1/2 cup of dry white wine, 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted or pasture butter, and 1 1/2 cups of turkey or chicken stock. Mix well and remove from heat.
Note: Since I use so much butter and wine while roasting my turkey, I did not add the stock to the stuffing I used in the bird. I only added 1 cup of stock for the remaining stuffing instead of the 1 1/2 cups.
4) Serve immediately or transfer to a buttered casserole dish to warm in the oven later. Make sure you cover the dish to ensure the stuffing does not dry out. Enjoy!
The Ultimate Cookbook
Italian Stuffing with Sausage and
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium celery ribs with leaves, chopped
2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
12 ounces (about 7 cups) day-old crusty Italian bread, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 cup (about 4 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup dry white wine
1½ cups (or as needed) homemade turkey stock or canned reduced-sodium chicken broth
In large skillet, beat oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook, breaking up meat with spoon, until it loses its pink color, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in basil, oregano, salt and crushed red pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Add bread and cheese and mix well. Stir in butter, wine and enough stock to moisten dressing, about 1 cup. Use to stuff turkey, or place in buttered baking dish, drizzle with additional 1/2 cup stock and bake as side dish. Yield: 10 cups
Note: Some cooks add 1 cup toasted pine nuts or 1 cup coarsely chopped black Mediterranean olives for even more flavor.
Per serving: 175 Calories, 7 grams Protein, 12 grams Fat (percent calories from fat, 61), 10 grams Carbohydrates, 28 milligrams Cholesterol, 377 milligrams Sodium, 1 gram Fiber.