A rich, berry filled bottle of Nero D’Avola is the perfect match to a rich Thanksgiving meal, including this crispy, savory stuffing.
- 1 1/2 pounds bulk Italian sausage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces pancetta diced
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 large fennel bulb, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups day country bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rubbed dried sage
- 1 1/2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup toasted pine nuts
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a deep 9×13 inch baking dish or roasting pan.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the sausage. Cook and stir until the sausage is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Place the browned sausage into a large mixing bowl.
Drain excess oil from the skillet and return medium heat, adding the pancetta and olive oil. Once the pancetta begins to brown, stir in the onions and fennel, and cook until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook another 3 minutes.
Scrape the onion mixture into the bowl with the crumbled sausage. Add the bread cubes, dried sage, poultry seasoning, dried cranberries, salt, and pine nuts; stir well. Pour in the chicken broth and stir until the chicken broth has been absorbed by the bread and the stuffing is evenly mixed. Pack the stuffing into the prepared baking dish, and dot the butter over top. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, then remove the foil, and continue baking until the top has turned golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Sprinkle with the fresh sage and serve. Makes 8 servings.