Recommending soup rather than pasta may seem like a stretch, but since the traditional Italian American Thanksgiving meal consists of many courses and an abundance of food, a lighter option to pasta is an autumnal soup. It makes a perfect starter for your meal and saves you time. Try this soup and leave the pasta for Black Friday with turkey left-overs.
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 pound yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 medium leeks, (white parts only) thinly sliced, washed and dried (about 7 oz)
3 pounds celery root, peeled and diced
1½ pounds McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 pound dry-packed, unsweetened bottled or vacuum-sealed peeled fresh chestnuts
1½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 gallon chicken stock
12 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, celery root, apples, chestnuts, thyme and celery, cook until onions and leeks are just softened, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken stock, bring to a gentle boil and cook until chestnuts are easily mashed, about 25 minutes. Discard the thyme.
Add Gorgonzola and using a blender, food processor or hand-held blender, purée soup until completely smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Soup should have the consistency of a light cream soup. Garnish with fresh sprigs of thyme. Serves 12