Thanksgiving in Italy

by Guest Columnist Chef Laura Frankel


If you cannot get away for the holiday, why not enjoy a short visit with an Italian Thanksgiving feast?

Pumpkins, chestnuts, gorgeous vegetables and those savory mushrooms, are all part of the mosaic of fall in the Italian country side.

All the dishes can be cooked ahead of time so you can relax and enjoy the holiday with friends and family.

Vegetables Osso Buco
Osso Buco or OssoBuco is a Milanese specialty that means “bone with a hole” which references the cross cut shank bone.

I absolutely love Osso Buco and have made the dish so many times; I could do it in my sleep. I especially love the bright flavor of the gremolata or citrus relish that clears your palate and gets you ready for the next bite of the heavenly dish. I thought a fun variation would be to take all the flavors of Osso Buco and do a lighter dish with vegetables slow cooked in white wine and serve it as a side for my Italian Fall feast menu.

Risotto di Zucca (Pumpkin Risotto)
I am usually a purist when it comes to regional cuisine and would never think to change the integrity another country’s dishes to suit my needs. That being said, Pumpkin Risotto is an exception to my ideal. This is my go–to Autumnal side dish.

I do not have a problem adding pureed pumpkin and a very generous “glug” of extra virgin olive oil to the final risotto instead of butter and cheese. Call me a hypocrite, but it works for me! The sweet and fruity pumpkin with the decadent amount of evoo makes the dish and further allows me to eat it with my favorite Osso Buco, short ribs or other autumnal treats. I garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, fried sage and a lazy drizzle of balsamic reduction. Ah, sweet, sweet bliss!

Chocolate and Chestnut Cake (Torta al Cioccolato e le Castagne)
Chestnuts are a staple in Autumnal Italian and French desserts. They are slightly sweet and starchy with a mild flavor. I love working with chestnuts and do not mind roasting and peeling them. Chestnuts are easily found peeled, cooked and kosher.

Prosecco, Rosemary and Cranberry Fizz
Wishing everyone a happy, delicious, peaceful Thanksgiving – Salute!

About the Author

cheflaurafrankelp Chef Laura Frankel is the Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies in Chicago. She is the author of Jewish Cooking For All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. Frankel is an avid farmer’s market supporter, giving demos and teaching classes all over the country featuring market produce.  Frankel is the former chef and founder of the Shallots restaurants. She has training and extensive experience in both savory and pastry kitchens and  has run restaurants in Chicago and New York. Before committing herself to her culinary passion, she played and taught both alto and baritone saxophones

November 19, 2012


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