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Rustic Italian Stuffing


1-2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
5 oz pancetta diced/chopped
3 sweet Italian turkey sausage (removed from casings/ground)
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 green onion
1 apple
3 celery stalks
2 carrots
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/2 loaf whole wheat rustic bread cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup toasted walnuts/pine nuts/chestnuts (any combination)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs beaten
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 cup (or more) low sodium chicken broth


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a 15 by 10 baking dish

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter (or olive oil) in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until golden, about 7 minutes. Then add 3 links turkey sausage without the casings (skins), break it up, and cook until brown. then add in the onion and garlic and cook together for 2-3 minutes on Medium heat.

After meat, onions, and garlic cook, add carrots, celery, and apples. Then season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Saute until the mixture is very tender, about 15 minutes on medium heat.

In a separate pan, toast the nuts to release their oils.

In a large bowl, add the sauteed vegetables, toasted nuts, Parmesan cheese, and bread. Add enough broth to the mixture to moisten, along with two beaten eggs. Season the stuffing to taste, with salt and pepper and add the parsley and rosemary. Stir to completely combine all the ingredients.

Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Bake until the stuffing is heated through and the top is golden brown, 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and enjoy!

As far as stuffing is concerned, this is a healthy alternative, using turkey sausage and olive oil.

George Christidis