Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe

It’s that time again – Thanksgiving. Time to start shopping for all of the great food you’re going to over-eat. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce or relish, sweet potatoes, salad, cake, cookies, pastries; the list goes on and on.

In our family, Thanksgiving was an all-day affair. When we lived in Brooklyn and then in Brentwood, NY, we’d all gather at Nana’s at 12:00 in the afternoon; and we wouldn’t leave the table until nearly 8:00 that night. Usually, Uncle Tommy was the first to push himself away from the table to get himself, aunt Fran and my cousins ready to go back to his house.

Anyway, we’d sit at the table at 12:00 or 1:00 pm and start with the antipasti. That included all of the traditional Italian cold cuts, sausage with mushrooms, caponata, olives, bread, etc. Next came the pasta with sauce, meatballs, sausage, braccioli, bread, etc.

After the pasta, we’d take a 30 minute intermission so uncle Tommy could carve the turkey and all of the women could start dishing out the rest of the food for the table. This main course usually had turkey, baked white and sweet potatoes, 2 bowls of vegetables, stuffing, salad and anything else Nana made that day.

After the main course, Nana brought out the fruit and nuts. After the fruit and nuts, out came the dessert with regular coffee and espresso. And, let’s not forget the vino!

Sometimes it seemed like the feast was never going to end.

The entire day consisted of the entire family at the dinner table talking, laughing and eating.

Nana’s stuffing was the best stuffing I’d ever had. Unfortunately, I never got her recipe, but I do have a stuffing recipe that I’ve used that has never let me down.

Preheat oer to 350 degrees

2 cups finely chopped celery
1 small finely chopped onion
4 cups herb-seasoned stuffing croutons
3 cups cubed cornbread (trust me-it’s good!)
2 tsp. sage
2 tsp poultry seasoning
3 eggs – beaten
1 large container (14-16 oz) chicken broth (I use low-sodium)
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup melted butter (I use unsalted)

Saute celery and onion in the butter until tender
In a large mixing bowl, combine herb-seasoned stuffing croutons, sage, onion and celery
Next, pour the beaten eggs and chicken broth (a little at a time) over the mixture.
Now, add the cornbread and gently fold it in, making sure all of it is moist (you may need to add more broth)

Pour mixture into a 9×13 greased pan (I usually do it with butter)
*NOTE: You can also use two 8×8 pans and bake them for 25-35 minutes
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes

Happy Thanksgiving!


Pasta Fazool !!!!

During the cold winter months, Nana made a lot of her wonderful peasant dishes. These meals usually consisted of pasta, beans and vegetables to not only fill you up but also were meant to feed an entire family. These dishes were nourishing for the body and the soul. Two of my favorites were peas and macaroni (pasta e piselli) and bean and macaroni (pasta e fagioli). This recipe is for pasta e fagioli, or as we called it when we were growing up-Pasta Fazool!!!

It’s so easy to make and lends itself to variety. For example, you can add kidney beans or garbanzo beans, potatoes or orzo to change it up. Something Nana did a lot.

Here’s the recipe:


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 carrot – diced
1 stalk of celery – diced

1 medium onion – sliced 
1 teaspoon chopped garlic 

1 large can of crushed tomatoes
8 oz chicken broth
Fresh Italian parsley and basil – chopped
1 bay leaf

1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans juice and all

1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta (you can also use small shells)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup grated Italian cheese (I mix parmigiano reggiano and locatelli romano together)


  •  Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute carrot, celery and onion until soft. Add garlic.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, pepper, salt, parsley and basil and simmer for 20 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the ditalini pasta and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente, then drain.
  • Add beans to the sauce mixture and simmer for a few minutes.
  • When the pasta is done, stir it into sauce and bean mixture.
  • Add the bay leaf and some of the Italian cheese to the mixture to thicken it a bit.
  • Serve in bowls with warm Italian bread for dipping in the delicious sauce.

* This recipe will serve about 4 people or two really hungry people!