Your place for traditional Italian recipes
Roast Turkey with Chestnut Stuffing

(Serves 8)
Chestnut stuffing is a traditional Thanksgiving turkey stuffing for many Italian families.  But a roasted turkey is also a wonderful dish to serve for your Christmas Day dinner. Add the chestnut stuffing to a beautifully roasted turkey flavored with rosemary and sage and get ready for all the compliments.

6 cups dry Italian bread, cut into cubes
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 ounces pancetta, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped chestnuts *
1 apple, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 (12-14 pound) turkey
Salt and pepper
1 cup dry white wine


To make the stuffing:
Put the bread cubes in a large bowl and add the milk.  Let soak for 10 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil.  Add the onions and pancetta.  Cook about 10 minutes until the onions are golden and pancetta begins to brown.  Stir in sage.  Remove from heat.

Squeeze the milk from the bread and place the bread in a large bowl.  Add the chestnuts and apple.  Transfer the onion-pancetta mixture to the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Allow to cool.  Stuffing can be refrigerated for 24 hours.

To  prepare and roast the turkey:
Preheat the oven to 350-degress F.
Combine the chopped rosemary and sage,  Lift the skin of the turkey and spread the herb mixture between the skin and the meat.  Fill the turkey with the stuffing.  Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and bake for 1 hour.

After the first hour, begin to baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the wine and juices in the pan.  Roast an additional 2-1/2 to 3 hours.  The turkey is done when the temperature at the thickest part of the turkey reaches 175-degrees F.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.  Transfer the stuffing to a bowl and carve the turkey.

* NOTE:  
You can roast the chestnuts yourself or purchase them packaged in cans,
jars, or vacuum-sealed.  Be sure the packaged chestnuts are not sweetened. 
To learn how to roast chestnuts, click here.
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