In the Cucina with La Gazzetta: Thanksgiving - Italian Style!

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In this column we share the cuisine and recipes of Italy and our Italian American communities. Each month we feature recipes curated from our research and those shared by LGI readers.
Food and cooking are important aspects of our cultural identity and sharing recipes is one way for us to connect to our roots and to one another!
We invite you to share your family recipes and the stories behind them with us! Please email your favorite Christmastime recipes and photos to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before November 10.
This tasty Italian Thanksgiving feast is sure to delight your guests! For more ideas, like a typical Italian antipasto platter or Italian fried stuff olives or tortellini en brodo (and more!) for your Thanksgiving table, visit


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Serving our family’s favorite traditional recipes for the holidays is just a given isn’t it? All of us look forward to those delicious traditions that grace our Thanksgiving tables every year. Even though this is truly an American holiday, people from all ethnicities add their own unique flavors and dishes alongside the classic American foods. So here’s how to enjoy an Italian Thanksgiving ! ~ Roz, la bella vita cucina


Italian Turkey Meatballs


1 lb. Ground turkey
1 lb. Ground Italian sausage
1 C. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1 C. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1½ C. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1½ C. Pecorino-Romano cheese, finely grated
2 Jumbo eggs
1 Large onion, finely chopped
1 C. Finely chopped celery
4 Large cloves garlic, minced
½ C. Fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ C. Fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 tsp. Fresh-ground sea salt
1 tsp. Freshly-cracked black pepper
3 tsp. Italian seasonings
½ tsp. Dried red pepper flakes
½ C. Olive oil for sautéing meatballs


Heat several tablespoons of olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet. Add onions, garlic, and celery to sauté until soft. In a large mixing bowl, gently mix the ground turkey, turkey sausage, sautéed onions, garlic and celery with remaining ingredients. Do not over mix. Using a small kitchen weigh scale, form meatballs that weight a half ounce. Pour a few tablespoons more of olive oil into the large skillet and gently hit. Place the meatballs into the skillet and sauté about 15 – 20 minutes until browned on all sides. Place the meatballs in a 375 degree oven to continue cooking for 15 more minutes. Serve as appetizers with marinara sauce to dip in or serve alongside a pasta with marinara sauce.


Italian Turkey Stuffing


20 oz. Loaf of home-made bread, sliced, toasted, buttered, and cut into ½ inch cubes (you can also buy and bake frozen bread dough for this)
1 T. Crumbled dried thyme
1 tsp. Crumbled dried sage
1 tsp. Crumbled dried rosemary (or less since it is so strong)
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Chopped onions
1 ½ C. Chopped celery and leaves
1 Stick plus 3 T. Unsalted butter
1 Turkey liver, gizzard, and heart, chopped
1 lb. Pork sausage
1 tsp. Garlic powder
8 oz. Whole milk mozzarella cheese (fresh if possible), cut into ¼ inch cubes
2 oz. Pepperoni, cut into tiny bits


This can be made the night before! In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the thyme, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper to taste. In a skillet, cook the onions, celery, and celery leaves in 9 T. of butter over medium heat until softened and tender (about 8 to 10 minutes) stirring occasionally and then add this to the bowl of bread cubes. In the skillet, cook the giblets in 2 T. of butter over moderate heat, stirring for four minutes or until they are browned,  adding salt and pepper to taste. Add this mixture to the bread cube mixture. In the skillet, cook the sausage, breaking it into pieces, over moderate heat until it is cooked through. Add 1 tsp. garlic and some salt. Add this to the bread cube mixture. Add the mozzarella, pepperoni to the bread mixture, toss completely and let cool completely. Bake either inside a turkey or in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown on the top. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to stuff the turkey or bake separately (or both). The aroma will simply amaze you when you open your refrigerator!


Italian Cranberry and Orange Bundt Cake


For the cake:
3 C. Flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Salt
4 Eggs, at room temperature
1 C. Unsalted butter, softened
2 C. Sugar
¼ C. Orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
2 T. Orange zest
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Cinnamon
½  C. Buttermilk
½  C. Italian mascarpone cheese
3 C. Fresh or frozen cranberries (if using frozen, make sure that they are dry on the outside)

For the glaze:

1½ C. Powder sugar
1/3 C. Orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)
Mix together.
For the Cream Cheese Icing:
8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
3–4 C. Powdered sugar
Whole milk or heavy cream (to thin the icing down if necessary)
Mix together.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. One at a time beat in the eggs. Stir in the cinnamon, mascarpone cheese, orange juice and zest, and vanilla until well combined. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix in buttermilk and then mix in the remaining flour mixture, stirring until all dry flour disappears into the batter. Gently fold in the cranberries (towel-dry frozen cranberries them so that they don’t “bleed” into the batter). Generously grease a very plain bundt pan. Don’t use a highly decorative bundt pan with deep grooves as the cranberries will get stuck in the grooves and your cake won’t release nicely after baking. Bake for 75 to 80 minutes. Insert a knife in the center; if it comes out wet and gooey, it needs to bake a little more. Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Then turn the cake over onto a wire cooling rack with a baking sheet underneath. While the cake is warm, brush the orange glaze all over the cake with a pastry brush. Allow the cake to cool completely. Drizzle the cream cheese frosting over the pound cake.

Buon Appetito!