Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wash and slice the squash into wedges about 1-1/2 inches thick. On a baking sheet with sides, coat the squash wedges with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 50 minutes until the squash is tender, golden and the top is caramelized (most important), then set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a medium-low flame for about 3 minutes, until the butter is browned and sizzling. Remove the saucepan from the flame and add the pistachios, turmeric and cinnamon. Add a bit of salt and mix. Spoon the mixture over the squash and transfer to an oven-safe serving dish. You can prepare this ahead of time and reheat in the oven at 350°F. Add a few more pistachio nuts on top when serving.
Ciabatta Stuffing with Italian Sausage and Red Peppers
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb fresh Italian sausage, casing removed
4 tbsp butter
2 red peppers, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tbsp flat left parsley
2 tbsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp sage
3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
8 cups of ciabatta bread, crumbled into bite-sized pieces
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. When the butter has melted, add the vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Return the sausage to the skillet. Add the herbs, garlic and poultry seasoning. Cook, stirring often until aromatic, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook until the wine is absorbed, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the bread.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to a 9” by 13” baking dish. Place the dish in the oven to melt the butter.
Remove the baking dish from the oven. Swirl the dish until coated with butter. Add the bread and sausage mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk in the chicken stock and the eggs. Pour over the stuffing. Cover the dish with foil. Bake in the oven until the center is set, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven. Bake until the stuffing begins to brown on top, about 10 minutes. Garnish with additional fresh herbs.
Marion’s Note:This recipe is suitable for a 12-14 pound turkey, so adjust according to the size of your bird. Rather than using a baking dish, I prefer to cook the stuffing directly in the turkey. The juices from the roasting provide a richer flavor. I realize, however, that many of our readers prefer to prepare some dishes ahead of time and that certainly can include the stuffing. Please remember – never stuff the turkey until just before it goes into the oven. A turkey should never be stuffed and refrigerated due to the possibility of bacterial cross contamination. Whether you use a baking dish or stuff the turkey directly, this recipe will provide just the right subtle Italian flair.
2 lb Brussel sprouts
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
3 large shallots, chopped
4 medium-sized cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, torn
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil with crushed red pepper flakes over a medium-high flame and allow the oil to infuse for at least 4 minutes. Watch the temperature, you want the oil to be hot, but do not want it to smoke. Carefully add the Brussel sprouts to the oil. If still wet after washing, they will pop and sizzle. Cook for 7-8 minutes. Make sure to move the sprouts around in the skillet to evenly coat. You want to obtain a nice glaze before the next step.
Add the chopped shallots and minced garlic to the skillet, season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic has taken on a medium brown color and has become aromatic.
Stir in the white balsamic vinegar. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of water. Cover and lower the flame. Simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the stove and mix in the fresh mint and parsley. Add a drizzle of white balsamic vinegar just before serving.
Marion’s Note: The garlic and crushed red pepper flakes provide the spiciness to the Brussel sprouts. If you like it even spicier, add a bit more red pepper flakes, but a little goes a long way when infused in oil. Also keep in mind – the smaller you mince the garlic, the more pronounced the flavor, so in this dish I recommend mincing, rather than chopping the garlic. I like to add a drizzle of white balsamic vinegar once the sprouts are in the serving dish – it really adds character and depth to the dish.
Parmigiano Baked Mashed Potatoes
1 tbsp butter
5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups fresh mozzarella, grated
1 cup Parmigiano cheese, grated
salt and pepper
3 tbsp bread crumbs
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 9” by 13” by 2” baking dish with a tablespoon of butter and set aside.
Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the same pot. I prefer to mash the potatoes by hand for this recipe. If using a stand mixer, do not overmix or the potatoes will become glue-like when too much starch is released.
Mix in the milk and melted butter, then add the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the Parmigiano, plus 2 tablespoons of the parsley and a tablespoon of the thyme. Blend well and season with a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Add the bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano into a small bowl and mix. Sprinkle the bread crumb/cheese mixture over the mashed potatoes. Bake, uncovered at 400°F until the top of the potatoes are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Garnish with the remaining parsley.
Marion’s Note:You can prepare this recipe about 8 hours before you want to serve it. Just cover with foil and chill in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Add additional time to the baking, depending upon how long the dish has been in the fridge. A good rule of thumb is to add 5-6 minutes for each hour it has spent in the refrigerator. Recipe can be prepared up to this point 6 hours ahead of time. Cover and chill.