Stuffing Showdown: Italian Family Recipe

When you grow up in an Italian household, you hardly need a holiday to come up with an excuse to stuff yourself. The only difference between a Thanksgiving gathering and your average Sunday night dinner is a slight variation of the menu and that the phrase "stuff the turkey" might refer to a large roasted bird instead of your Uncle Dominic. On Thanksgiving, we usually have a meat course, piles of pasta, an entire table of desserts, and of course, stuffing done Italian style. 

The recipe, as passed down from our Grandmother Colucci:

1 celery stalk, chopped 

2 loaves of soft Italian bread 
1 small can sliced mushrooms chopped 
1 small can black olives pitted and chopped 
1 large onion diced 
6 - 8 eggs 
1 -2 cups grated parmesan cheese 
Salt and pepper to taste 
4 - 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1 cup Chicken broth or milk 
1 stick butter 

  • Cut the bread into cubes and place into a large bowl. 
  • Melt butter and simmer celery, mushrooms, onion, olives and garlic until soft and set aside to cool. 
  • Add parmesan, salt, pepper, and parsley to bread and toss by hand. 
  • Add eggs and mix. 
  • Toss in celery mixture; be sure that it has cooled completely as a hot mixture may begin to cook the eggs. If the stuffing feels dry, add milk or chicken broth until sufficient moisture is achieved. 
  • Mix and place into a nonstick baking dish. Bake at 350 for 20 - 30 min. Check that top has turned golden for doneness. 

All of the ingredients, with the exception of the bread and the eggs can be increased or decreased according to taste. Our grandmother occasionally added chestnuts, but Mom always left them out and we do as well. The mixture can be stuffed inside the turkey, but is just as often served alone alongside a large helping of ham. Either way, be sure to include these essential Italian accompaniments: a large glass of red wine and a boisterous conversation. Trust us, the stuffing just doesn't taste the same without them.