Italian Style Thanksgiving
Now that the American stuff is out of the way let’s get to some of the Italian food that is added to the table. You must have pasta, gravy, meatballs and sausage. That’s first before anything else. Now you have to decide what kind of pasta to make. Stuffed shells, lasagna, raviolis or spaghetti are always a favorite for the holidays.
I still have not attempted to make homemade raviolis just yet. I’ll admit I buy them frozen. So lets make the stuffed shells with a meat sauce and maybe a risotto. For the apps I already have a great antipasti tray and a stuffed artichoke recipe on site so I’ll just refer you to them.
You have to have meatballs and sausage and let’s not forget the dessert. A nice chocolate biscotti sounds good to go with your coffee or espresso. If you want cannoli I’ll give you the recipe for that too.
Click here for my Antipasti recipe.
Click here for my Stuffed Artichoke recipe.
Click here for my Meatball recipe.
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
8 baby portabella mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbls of butter
1 lb of ground beef
1/2 lb of ground pork
2 6oz cans of tomato paste
1/2 cup of red wine
4 15oz cans of tomato puree
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 cup of water
3/4 cup of fresh basil, broken into pieces 1 Tbls of dried oregano
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 Tbls of fresh ground black pepper
1 Tsp of salt
In a large pot, sauté the onions, carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms and garlic for 5 minutes in the butter and olive oil.
Add the beef and pork and break into little pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook another 5 minutes
Add the red wine and cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the tomato puree, diced tomatoes and water.
Add the basil, oregano, sugar, black pepper and salt.
Simmer covered for 1 hour and 1/3 to use right away of 6 to 8 hours if you have the time. The longer you cook it the better the flavor.
Stir constantly while cooking.
2 1lb. boxes of jumbo shells
4 lbs of ricotta cheese
3 balls of fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup of fresh grated fontanella cheese
1/4 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cups of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tbls of fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp of salt
In 8 quarts of boiling salted water, cook the shells until al dente. Around 6 to 8 minutes.
In a large bowl mix together the ricotta, mozzarella, fontanella, parmesan, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper.
Place some of the meat sauce at the bottom of a large baking dish.
Stuff the shells with the ricotta mixture and arrange them in the baking dish.
Top with sauce and a little more mozzarella.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes until heated through.
Serves 8 to 10 people
Butternut Squash Risotto
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2oz of pancetta, diced
20 sprigs of fresh sage leaves
6 Tbls of butter
2 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of Arborio rice
1/2 cup of dry white wine
6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp of salt
1 Tsp of fresh ground black pepper
1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese
Peel the squash and cut in half and remove the seeds.
Dice the squash and place them on a cookie sheet.
Drizzle with a little olive oil, season with a little salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes until fork tender. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer.
In a large pot sauté the shallots, garlic, pancetta and 4 sage leaves in the butter and oil for around 6 minutes. Stir in the rice and coat well with the butter and oil.
Add the wine.
Add the broth 1 cup at a time stirring until each cup is absorbed by the rice.
Turn off the heat and stir in the squash and parmesan cheese.
In a separate pan heat 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil and fry the remaining sage leaves until crisp.
Plate the risotto and top with fried sage leaves.
Serves 4 to 6 people
Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
2 and 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of Nestles cocoa powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt
4 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
10 oz. of hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
12 oz bag of mini-semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg white
1/4 cup of sugar
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together.
In a Kitchen Aid or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs gradually adding the sugar until they form stiff peaks.
Gradually mix in the flour mixture until it forms a soft dough..
Stir in the chocolate pieces and the hazelnuts with a spatula.
Place the dough on a floured surface and divide into 3 pieces.
Shape each piece into a 20 inch log.
Transfer the log to the cookie sheets and press down slightly.
Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack then cut into 3/4 inch pieces using a knife with a serrated edge.
Place them bake on the cookie sheet cut side down and cook for around 10 more minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
Makes around 30 pieces
Click here for my Cannoli recipe
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