La Buona Cucina Americana: Thanksgiving Filling

La Buona Cucina Americana RecipesOr stuffing or dressing depending on where you’re from.

Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday. It’s all about giving thanks and eating–two of my favorite things. And while I *like* turkey, for me the stars of Thanksgiving are the side dishes. Love them.

I love my mom’s filling the most–so much that it is my first contribution to La Buona Cucina Americana.

Carrots and celery on FlickrIf you don’t know what this is, read Judith in Umbria’s description here.

Essentially we Americans are tired of the trash-talking (pun intended) about our cuisine. Contrary to popular stereotypes (often involving Golden Arches), Americans do shop at markets, slice and dice fresh ingredients, and otherwise make real homemade meals.

Through La Buona Cucina Americana, we are sharing some of our favorite recipes in English and Italian so our Italian amici can try them out too.

So far we’ve had:

And now, straight from my mom’s cucina:

Thanksgiving Filling

Stuffing on Flickr

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped finely
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • handful of parsley, chopped finely
  • 1 loaf stale bread, in chunks (sliced bread is fine)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Melt butter in large pan and add carrots, celery, onion, and parsley. Sauté for about 10 minutes.

3. In the meantime, make sure the water and broth are heated and grease a medium-sized baking dish with butter.

4. When carrots, celery, and onion are soft, pour water and broth into pan.

5. Add bread cubes, which should look something like this:

Bread chunks on Flickr

6. Mix with wooden spoon until all bread is moistened, but don’t overmix.

7. Pour mixture into baking dish, and bake in oven for about an hour, a little longer to get an even crunchier top.

8. Let sit for about five minutes after you take it out of the oven before serving.


  • I bake mine in the oven because I like an uber-crunchy top, but you can also use this as a traditional “stuffing” by stuffing this inside the bird of your choice; just let it cool off before you do so.
  • Some of you may be wondering where the sausage is. My mom doesn’t make hers with sausage, so I don’t either. P–like a true Calabrian–asked if I would include it next time, and I will because I’m a good fidanzata.

Ripieno tradizionale per tacchino per il giorno di Ringraziamento

Stuffing in the oven on Flickr

  • 110 g di burro
  • 3 carote pelate e grattugiate
  • 3 gambi di sedano tritati
  • 1 cipolla (bianca o gialla) grande tritata
  • prezzemolo tritato q.b.
  • 600 g di pane secco a cubetti
  • 250 mL di brodo (vegetale o pollo)

1. Preriscaldare il forno a 180°C.

2. Fate squagliare il burro in una padella grande e aggiungete le carote, il sedano, la cipolla, ed il prezzemolo. Fate appassire per una decina di minuti.

3. Nel frattempo, assicuratevi che l’acqua ed il brodo sono caldi e imburrare la casseruola.

4. Quando le carote, il sedano, e la cipolla diventeranno morbidi, aggiungete l’acqua ed il brodo.

5. Aggiungete i cubetti di pane.

6. Mescolate con un cucchiaio di legno solo fino ad umidire il pane ma non troppo.

7. Versate il composto nella casseruola. Infornate per circa un’ora, qualche minuti in più per una crosta più croccante.

8. Fate riposarlo per circa 5 minuti prima di servirlo.


  • Io lo cucino al forno perché mi piace una crosta croccantissima ma potete usare il composto anche come un ripieno tradizionale. Lasciatelo raffredare, quindi usatelo per riempire un tacchino, un pollo, ecc.
  • Forse state cercando la salsiccia nella ricetta. Mia mamma non la usa quindi non la uso neach’io. Il mio fidanzato P–come un vero Calabrese–mi ha chiesto di aggiungerla e la prossima volta lo farò perché sono una brava fidanzata.

Buon appetito!

27 Beans of Wisdom to “La Buona Cucina Americana: Thanksgiving Filling”
  1. 04.18.2008

    Looks scrumptious, Michelle! I make stuffing almost the same way. I add sausage and crumbled pre boiled chestnuts to mine.

    I have southern friends that would insist stuffing (or “dressing” as they call it) must be made with cornbread.

    Different regions, different tastes! 🙂


    Pat’s last blog post..Two Green-Wood Cemetery Civil War Stories

    I think I might try a cornbread stuffing sometime; I love cornbread so I’m sure I’d like it. Actually in my family we’d normally use white, sliced “American” bread, but I made it that way once here and P said, “I bet this would be great with OUR bread (meaning the Calabrian).” So I used that this time, and it definitely was–much more interesting texture.

  2. 04.18.2008

    Never too early for another Thanksgiving recipe! I love what you all have posted so far!

    Tartelette’s last blog post..Chocolate Mocha Cake

    I say stuffing/filling/dressing should be eaten year round! It’s so good, there’s no reason to only have it once a year right? Thanks for stopping by Tartelette 🙂

  3. Gil

    Maybe, you’ll be stuffing a home grown turkey this Fall. Are you growing any this year?

    We’ll see Gil. We’ve had such bad luck with turkeys though, we may just stick to the chick or, we do have guinea hens now….

  4. I’m sure for every comment you have here, you’ll get a different way to make stuffing. I think stuffing is the “spice” of any Thanksgiving meal and is where the true personality of your host shines through – however they’re making it, it is probably their favorite way to eat it 🙂 Brava!

    So true Sara. I have to say that although I’ll try all different kinds, I’m pretty stubborn about sticking to the one I’m used to for the Big Day in November. Just something about that taste of home 😉

  5. 04.18.2008

    I love them all. I lived all over the eastern half of the USA and I never met a stuffing I didn’t like. I sometimes make it stove top to eat all by itself, with lots of herbs and maybe some chopped nuts, pecans are great in stuffing.

    Judith in Umbria’s last blog post..Made in America: Filling

    Anything with chunks of bread, seasoning, some vegetables…I mean really, how can it *not* be good?

  6. Barbara

    Wow! So many variations! Altho I’ve heard of cornbread stuffing, our family has always made it with white bread. I’ve never heard of adding sausage, altho I have heard about adding oysters!

    Oysters…hmm…I don’t know that I’d be *that* adventurous 😉

  7. 04.18.2008

    Why do I always read food blogs/recipes around lunchtime? Bad habit! My stomach is grumbling real bad now and all
    I have to look forward to is the company cafeteria. Lucky me!

    I adore stuffing and am definitely going to try out this one, probably stuffed inside the bird to get all those yummy juices.

    Linda’s last blog post..Have I Told You Lately That We Need To Go Out Sans Kids

    One thing about stuffing this inside the bird is that you might want to add an even more weakly flavored broth than usual–it’s really in there just for some kick, but you may not need it with the bird working and all 😉

  8. 04.18.2008

    Oh, now I’m craving stuffing. I’m a bit of a stuffing purist and like you, prefer my mom’s – which is basically white bread, butter, onion, salt, pepper and sage. In recent years I’ve substituted white bread with sourdough and that’s actually my favorite, but meat in the stuffing? NEVER!

    Courtney, I definitely respect that no meat rule. Definitely 🙂

  9. 04.18.2008

    Oh my …yum!!!! I love thanksgiving treats year round. No need to just save it for one day a year!!! My Dad is German, so my Mom used to make traditional sausage stuffing dressing for turkey day. Oh, I loved every minute of it, but your looks just as delish!! I think I like it nice and chunky 😉 The bread, the bread.

    My Melange’s last blog post..Italian Arch-itecture

    Hah, my mom is German (Pennsylvania Dutch) but there was just never any sausage in there. Of course no one in my family is a huge fan of German sausage either, so that could be why 😉 And yes, the bread really made this special…I don’t think I’ll go back to regular sliced white bread anytime soon….

  10. La Buona Cucina Americana is such a great idea. I’ve enjoyed all of the recipes so far. I agree that stuffing should be an anytime thing. To me, it’s one of the most creative parts of Thanksgiving dinner!

    Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy’s last blog post..Top Chef, Season 4: Tailgating AND TWO GIVEAWAY WINNERS

    Yeah for year-round stuffing!!!!!

  11. 04.18.2008

    Yum… there should be another thanksgiving in Spring 🙂
    Bravo P! la mia mamma lo fa con salsiccia…. perche’? perche’ lei e’ Calabrese! Che fidanzata brava che sei Michelle!!

    Joe’s last blog post..Italian Doors

    Hah, thanks Joe! And you make a great point about Spring Thanksgiving….

  12. Sandy

    Hi Michelle,

    Can I send you a recipe, even if I don’t have a blog? I have a great recipe for sweet potatoes!


    Please do Sandy…if you have a photo all the better 🙂

  13. 04.18.2008

    That looks good, Michelle. We’ll have to make this if we ever do our Traditional Thanksgiving here for the boys. Although, like Pat said…I’m a southerner. Cornbread baby (and, yes…it is dressing!) he he

    I’ve never had it with sausage OR oysters. We use eggs, though…

    Cherrye’s last blog post..There’s a New Blog in Town

    I was just talking to my mom about the eggs thing–said her parents didn’t use them, so she didn’t either, so there you have it. I imagine with cornbread and eggs, it’d be a lot heavier than this?

    My mom *did* say, though, that she remembers her dad making it with oysters a few times…who knew?!

  14. Maryann

    It’s interesting what people from different regions in America call this. Here it is called “stuffing” 🙂

    Maryann’s last blog post..Pastiera di Grano (Easter Wheat Pie)

    Maryann, I think generally and most commonly it’s “stuffing” as that’s what Stovetop calls it 😉 My mom always called it “filling” which I’m guessing is PA Dutch? I think the rest of my family (also from PA but more central) calls it stuffing too. But since this is my mom’s recipe, I stuck with her name for it 😉

  15. 04.18.2008

    Michelle, Your photo makes me want to dig right into that crunchy top! With or without the sausage! It’s sad that we tend to make this only once a year, it’s such a great side dish.

    Marie’s last blog post..CONTORNI (SIDE DISHES)

    Funny that I see that you posted about Contorni as well Marie 🙂

  16. 04.18.2008

    This looks like carbo heaven. Count me in for the sausage version. I feel that a few chunks of pancetta wouldn’t spoil it either. Now I’m thinking that this would be great eaten on it’s own with a good grating of cheese melting on that lovely crunchy top, a little salad, a glass of vino rosso and you’ve got supper.

    I’m really enjoying all this American cooking and I’m hoping one of you might include a pumpkin pie, we get lots of pumpkins around here and I’m rather partial to a nice piece of pie.

    amanda’s last blog post..Dyed hair and false smiles

    Pumpkin pie huh? We’ll see what we can do about that Amanda….

  17. 04.18.2008

    Yum! I’m actually about to start adding recipes to my site, too. My all-time favorites. So far I have the pictures ready to go for chili, bolognese sauce with roasted vegetables, endpaper chocolate tart (looks like swirled Italian paper), and enchiladas… Just haven’t had time to type up the recipes. I look forward to trying out some of these recipes you’re including here–especially this stuffing!

    (E sono d’accordo con P–rispetto alla salsiccia–se ne hai di buonissima qualita’–sara anche piu delizioso! Purtroppo non si trova qui a Mosca, allora provero’ la versione di tua madre).

    MoscowMom’s last blog post..Rest in Peace

    Can’t wait to see your recipes! I started out the same way here, wanting to post my favorites…turns out I have a rather lot of them 😉

  18. Tina

    Perfect timing! It’s fall here… 😉

    Tina’s last blog post..Smoke gets in your eyes…

    Oh I hadn’t even thought of that! Hah!

  19. 04.19.2008

    Yummy. Thanks for reminding me about how much I like Thanksgiving. Love the recipe in Italian.

    karen cole’s last blog post..COLLABORATION AT IT’S BEST

    My pleasure Karen, and thanks 🙂

  20. 04.19.2008

    Mmm. I always make mine in the turkey, but there’s never enough. Now I know how to make it in the oven. Thanks!

    Shan’s last blog post..friday flashback – the late edition

    Yes, another excellent reason to bake it!

  21. 04.19.2008

    Perfect, classic stuffing recipe! I love this project that you’re all doing. And I hope you’re having a lovely reunion weekend in Florence. I’m so jealous!

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..Singular Saturday: With the Advent of Spring comes…

    I didn’t make the reunion, but I do look forward to tales and photos!

  22. 04.19.2008

    I also LOVE Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday for the same reasons. I will have to try out your stuffing recipe. The pictures is making my mouth water! Thanks for sharing! Deb

    Debbbie Egizio’s last blog post..IF: Primitive

    We should definitely have it more than once a year 🙂

  23. I love love love… Thanksgiving as well. All your meals look so delicious and making me wish I was so not dieting right now hehe.

    Jen @ One Moms World’s last blog post..Is This Really Florida

    Well in the dieting sense, I suppose it *is* a good thing that Thanksgiving only comes around once a year 😉

  24. Paula

    that’s pretty much they way i remember my mom making….which is also the way i make it now. jim’s not used to carrots in his filling…. but that doesn’t stop me from putting them in there.

    Good for you–can’t imagine it without carrots 😉

  25. Myrna

    Cooking is never my passion not unless the day that I decided to get married and settle down. Funny how it seems that I just started cooking then but when I was still single it’s my mom who do all the kitchen stuff and if not I just go out and look for diners to eat. I admit that cooking is real tough but I guess it’s all worth the while for at the end of every lesson you have something new gained.

    michelle Reply:

    Hope you get some enjoyment out of it, Myrna 🙂

  1. Pingback: The Flavors of Abruzzo » Made in America - The “stuff” that makes Thanksgiving
    [...] week in the Made in America series, Michelle over at Bleeding Espresso has decided to share her (MomR...
Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

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