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Italian-Inspired Thanksgiving Dinner | Italian Thanksgiving Recipes

Rotolo di Tacchino (Turkey)

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 turkey breast, butterflied

  • 15-20 bacon strips

  • 1 cup (250g) ricotta cheese

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup (75g) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

  • 1/4 cup (35g) pine nuts

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating

  • Salt

  • Fresh black pepper

  • Fresh rosemary and thyme

  • 1 cup (250ml) turkey or chicken broth

  • Cooking twine

Spread a sheet of wax or parchment paper over the butterflied turkey breast, and pound it with a meat mallet or rolling pin until the meat is of an even thickness.

On a large work surface, overlap bacon strips in a rectangular layer. This bacon layer should be slightly wider than the diameter of the turkey breast. Place the breast on top of the bacon, then sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the top.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, egg, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts with a generous grating of Parmigiano cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the ricotta cheese mixture in a thin layer over the turkey breast. The thicker the ricotta layer is, the more difficult the breast will be to roll up so use your judgement here. A smaller breast will need less cheese.

Roll the breast up, almost by folding it in thirds, and use the bacon strips underneath to wrap it all up. Additional bacon strips can be wrapped over the top and tucked underneath to completely enclose the roll. Use cooking twine to tie the roll shut and place in a baking pan.

Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 C).

Pour 1 cup of turkey broth or chicken stock over the rotolo and add a sprig or two of fresh rosemary and thyme into the pan.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake, basting occasionally, for an additional 20-30 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and a thermometer inserted into the turkey registers 165 degrees F (74 C).

Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before removing the twine, slicing, and serving.

Supa Cuata (Stuffing)

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 loaf Italian bread (doesn’t have to be fancy!)

  • 3 cups (700ml) turkey or chicken broth

  • 2 oz. (50g) caciocavallo or sharp cheddar cheese (or to taste)

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating

  • Fresh black pepper

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).

In a baking pan (we used one measuring 8x8-inches and 2 inches deep), make a layer of single bread slices. The slices should be about an inch thick. Cut smaller pieces of bread to fill in any gaps.

Ladle broth over the bread; enough to saturate it but not so much that the pan fills up with liquid.

Cut the hard cheese into small chunks and spread half over the top, then grate Parmigiano cheese over all. Assemble another bread layer on top of the first and repeat the broth and cheese process.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top has begun to brown into a crispy crust.

Caponata di Mirtilli Rossi (Cranberry Sauce)

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 12 oz. (340g) fresh, ripe cranberries

  • 2 honeycrisp apples, cubed

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 gold onion, halved and sliced

  • 1 large tomato, cubed

  • 1/8 cup (64g) capers, diced

  • 1/8 cup (20g) pine nuts

  • 1/8 cup (20g) raisins

  • 1/2 cup (60g) kalamata olives, chopped

  • 1 tbsp (15g) tomato paste

  • 3-4 tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp (30ml) balsamic vinegar

  • Olive oil

  • Salt

  • Fresh black pepper

In a large sautè pan, bring a generous pour of olive oil up to medium heat on the stovetop. Add the onion and sautèe for 3 minutes, then add the celery. Cover and cook for an additional 5 minutes. If the celery and onion risk burning, add a splash of warm water into the pan.

Add the olives, capers and pine nuts. Stir all together and cook for a further 3 minutes, covered. As before, add some water if the caponata risks burning.

Add the tomatoes and a splash of water. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, covered.

Meanwhile, dissolve the tomato paste in a 1/2 cup (120ml) of water.

After the tomatoes have cooked for 5 minutes, add the apples and cranberries, along with the tomato paste mixture, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook covered, adding water as necessary, for about 10-15 minutes or until the apples have softened but not completely dissolved.

Cool completely before serving.

Purè di Patate di Mamma Rosa (Mashed Potatoes)

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2 large russet potatoes

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tbsp (24g) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup (250ml) whole milk

  • 1/2 cup (50g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • Grated nutmeg

  • Salt

Place the potatoes in a medium pot and fill with enough water to cover them about an inch. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender and a fork can be easily inserted into them. Remove from the water and allow to cool until they can be handled.

Peel the potatoes by hand and use either a potato masher or ricer to mash them in a large pot. Add the butter, milk, Parmigiano, and a pinch of nutmeg. Salt to taste. Mix all together and serve.

Gravy Italiano

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1 turkey or chicken liver

  • 1 turkey or chicken heart

  • 1 cup red wine

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 onion, halved

  • 2 stalks celery

  • 2 cups (500ml) turkey or chicken broth

  • Olive oil

Boil the carrot, onion and celery until tender. In a small saucepan, heat the poultry broth until warm.

In a small skillet, fry the liver and heart in 2-3 tbsp of olive oil for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the wine and reduce the temperature to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the wine has nearly evaporated completely.

In a flat-bottomed pot, combine the vegetables, meat and broth. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Salt to taste.

Crostata di Ricotta con Marmellata di Arance e Zucca (“Pumpkin Pie”)

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2/3 cup (150g) butter

  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 2/3 cup (200g) all-purpose flour

  • 3 tbsp (15g) unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 cup (250g) orange marmalade

  • 3/4 cup (180g) pure pumpkin purèe

  • 1/2 cup (30g) amaretti biscotti

  • 1 lb (450g) ricotta cheese

  • 3/4 cup (100g) powdered sugar

  • Cinnamon

  • Orange zest

Mix the ricotta cheese with the powdered sugar and place in a strainer, suspended over a bowl, to drain overnight.

Combine the butter and sugar. Mix thoroughly, then incorporate the egg. Once the egg is mixed in, add the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Knead by hand into a smooth dough, wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the orange marmalade and pumpkin purèe with a dash of cinnamon to taste. Separately, mix the ricotta cheese with a liberal grating of orange zest.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Butter the inside of a pie dish.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cut about 1/4 of it off to set aside. Roll the remainder until it is large enough to drape into the dish with about an inch of overhang.

Spread the marmalade/pumpkin mixture into the bottom of the pie, then cover with a layer of crumbled amaretti biscotti. Spread the ricotta evenly on top to fill the pie shell.

Roll and cut the remaining pie dough into 1-inch wide strips long enough to cover the crostata in a criss-cross pattern. Lay them as desired, then fold the pie dough overhang to cover and seal the edges.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is completely cooked. Cool before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving! Buon appetito!

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Hollis Ramsey
Hollis Ramsey
Oct 10, 2022

On Episode 7: America of Netflix’s The Final Table, the contestants were challenged to reinvent Thanksgiving dinner. Not a one of them came even close to what Eva has accomplished here. Theirs were interesting, but Eva’s is unbelievably superb! IMO, of course.

And, Harper, while I dislike pumpkin pie intensely, I would walk a mile, or two, or more, to eat Eva’s Crostata. You may not think of it as Thanksgivingey, but since I refrain from eating the traditional pumpkin pie (on pain of disgorgement), Crostata di Ricotta con Marmellata di Arance e Zucca has immediately become my traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin dessert.


Apr 27, 2021

Everything sounds worth trying. I have to ask about the sundried tomatoes, they look very good. Brand or from where? Grazie!


Nov 24, 2020

You sent me to town a month early! Stocked up on all the necessaries to prepare what looks to be more of the best. Appreciate your efforts to bring us some wonderful dishes.

Also getting big Wows from my Sicilian girlfriend. Italy certainly has great food and great females!! Thanks again


Nov 22, 2020

You are by far the best food channel. No pretense and quite genuine. I have to say I am insanely jealous that you have Eva and I do not.

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