Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta

Stuffing is one of my favorite dishes at Thanksgiving and this is how I’ve Italianized it. My aunts always used to stuff chickens with chestnuts, pancetta, and Parmesan, and I think it works perfectly with the Thanksgiving menu. I always cook stuffing in a separate dish because it has a better texture that way and doesn’t draw the juices out of the meat.

Recipe courtesy of "Giada's Family Dinners" by Giada De Laurentiis/Crown Publishing Group, 2006.

Giada De Laurentiis

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta

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    6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish 2 (7.4-ounce) jars roasted peeled whole chestnuts, coarsely broken
    8 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice 1 pound day-old ciabatta or other country-style white bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
    2 large onions, finely chopped 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    3 celery stalks, finely chopped 1 cup canned reduced-sodium chicken broth, or more as needed
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    3 garlic cloves, chopped 2 large eggs, beaten to blend


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    • 1

      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 15 x 10 x 2-inch glass baking dish.

    • 2

      Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a large bowl.

    • 3

      Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic. Sauté until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the chestnuts.

    • 4

      Transfer the onion mixture to the large bowl with the pancetta. Add the bread, Parmesan cheese, and parsley, and toss to coat. Add enough broth to the stuffing mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the eggs.

    • 5

      Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down, and bake until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue ­baking until the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.

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