Italian Sausage, Browned Butter and Sage Dressing


I’ll often ask people of different nationalities what they stuff their turkeys with. You would be amazed at the responses I get.  For instance, my family always used rice stuffing with chestnuts. My son-in law’s family from Mexico stuffs their turkey with potatoes and small olives.  Many Americans of different backgrounds have infused their cultural heritage into the foods they prepare for the holidays in their new adopted country.  This recipe is my take of the American holiday classic bread stuffing or dressing. 

This recipe is meant to be baked separately in a casserole dish.  To use as a stuffing for turkey, double the recipe.  I used prepared packaged bread cubes for this recipe.  Just a note:  not all dry bread cubes are created equally; some are more porous and drier than others.  I would start out with using 1 cup of broth and add a little at a time until you get it to the consistency you like. 

Italian Sausage, Browned Butter and Sage Dressing

Difficulty Rating:  Easy
Makes 8 servings.

7 cups dry bread cubes, white or sourdough
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 ½ cups diced onion
2 stalks celery (about 1 cup), chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fennel bulb  
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup chopped fresh sage leaves (about 3/4 ounce)
1/2 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage (about 2 sausage links), casings removed
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1 to 2 tablespoon butter
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 2 ½-quart ovenproof casserole dish. 

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. 

Place the pine nuts in a large skillet over low heat, stirring constantly until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes.  Add to the bread cubes. 

Using the same skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the vegetables and cook until softened, about 6 minutes.  Add to the bread cubes.

Using the same skillet, melt the 5 tablespoon of butter over medium heat and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Add the sage and continue to cook another minute.  Add to the bread cube mixture.

Again, use the same skillet to brown the sausage over medium heat.  Add to the bread cube mixture. 

Stir the parsley and walnuts into the bread mixture.  Add the chicken broth and black pepper to taste. Start with one cup of broth and add ¼ cup at a time until you get it to your preferred consistency. Stir until thoroughly combined.  Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.  Place in buttered casserole dish, dot on top with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.  Bake for 1 hour, until heated through and lightly browned on top.


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