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Thanksgiving with an Italian Accent

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Give thanks with this Italian-inspired feast, enlivened with Parmigiano, pine nuts, and plenty of olive oil.

This Thanksgiving menu is traditional American, but seasoned with Italian flavors: The bread stuffing is accented with fennel, escarole, and pine nuts; green beans are punctuated with bitter radicchio and sweet, nutty Parmigiano shavings, and the mashed potatoes are flavored with a healthy dose of extra-virgin olive oil instead of the usual butter. Dessert is a not-too-sweet ricotta tart with orange. Mangia!

Menu Timeline

Two days ahead

  • Make the cranberry sauce, cover and refrigerate.

A day ahead

  • Make the turkey giblet broth for the gravy. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
  • Brine the turkey.
  • Make the sage butter.
  • Make the tart crust, wrap well in plastic, and store at room temperature.

In the morning

  • Make the orange ricotta filling, bake the tart, and refrigerate.

Five hours before dinner

  • Remove turkey from brine, rinse, and pat dry.
  • Rub butter under the skin and finish prepping the turkey for roasting.
  • Heat the oven to 350°F.

Four hours before dinner

  • Put the turkey in the oven.
  • Make the stuffing but don’t add the broth yet.

90 minutes before dinner

  • Prep the ingredients for the green beans.

An hour before dinner

  • Take cranberry sauce out of refrigerator to return to room temperature.
  • Add the broth to the stuffing and put it in the oven with the turkey.
  • Start soaking the dried mushrooms for the gravy.
  • Boil the potatoes.

30 minutes before dinner

  • Remove turkey from oven and let rest. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake the stuffing.
  • Make the mushroom gravy.
  • Mash the potatoes, season to taste, and keep warm.

15 minutes before dinner

  • Make the green beans.

Just before serving

  • Carve the turkey.
  • Stir the parsley into the mashed potatoes.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 3-4 medium fennel bulbs
  • 1 medium head escarole
  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 12 oz. slender green beans
  • 6 oz. radicchio
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2-3 medium oranges
  • 1 medium lemon
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 small bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch fresh sage

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • One 14-lb. turkey (preferably fresh and natural), with neck and giblets
  • 15-oz. container whole-milk ricotta (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 11 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 3 large eggs

Other Groceries

  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth (or use homemade)
  • 1 large loaf chewy sourdough bread
  • 25 chocolate wafers or 35 vanilla wafers
  • 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 Tbs. orange-flavored liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau)
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. Bell’s poultry seasoning (optional)
  • Shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish

Pantry Staples

  • 2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Table salt
  • Kosher salt
  • Black peppercorns

The Menu


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