What to CookItalian

Turkey Who? Make This Menu if You're Sick of Thanksgiving

8 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

Set yourself free from a traditional Thanksgiving spread: Host a meatball party, crank the Italian crooners, stock up on olive oil. Let your freak red- and white-checked tablecloth fly.

If at least one of the following things describes you, this menu is for you.

Photo by James Ransom
  1. You work in the food industry, and it’s plausible that you’ve already cooked and consumed 3 hulking turkeys, your weight in stuffing, and enough potatoes to feed the citizens of a small town before the month of November actually began.

  2. You don’t have your great aunt’s jello salad requirements to contend with, or a cousin who can never not bring mashed parsnips, or a mother who says she wants to "get creative" but you both know that really means pulling down the patterned gravy boat instead of last year’s cream one (YAWN!).

  3. You like meatballs. You really, really like meatballs.

  4. Turducken who? Your culinary white whale is a timpano.

  5. Every year, immediately after you put in your order for a bird on holiday autopilot, you screech-yell-exclaim in your head that turkey isn’t even that good and why couldn’t this tradition have been started with rib-eye or meatloaf or practically anything else and god I’d take anything else as long as it won't dry up like shoe leather almost reflexively. You stuff those thoughts deep down inside yourself, much like you will soon stuff that dry bird, and you look for this year’s ultimate best amazing brine. That will do it, you think.

  6. You pray at the altar of olive oil.

  7. You often find yourself saying things like this would be soo good with breadcrumbs in it or can you pass the bread or I don’t understand why every salad doesn’t have croutons? (Apologies to Allen Miglore: Your salad is sacred, but not too sacred to add croutons to.)

  8. Sometimes when you’re making Italian food you, you go all Giada and explain—to the air, to the kitchen, to no one—that you’re now placing the RIGOT into the SPAGHETT and you’re going to grate in a little PARMEHSAAN for that salty bite. Wouldn’t this be just so good with PROSCIUTT??

The Mains:

Cc489969 9927 48b9 87bd 7c360d6ac2bb  2013 0611 genius meatballs 013

Rao's Meatballs

8a456b44 3c6a 4e34 8371 61e78852cc87  7029531297 620861934a z Genius Recipes
2,773 Save Go To Recipe
Makes 28 meatballs
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 cup good quality olive oil, for cooking
  • Your favorite marinara sauce (we like Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter, also on Food52)
Go to Recipe
Show More
0fd42e61 84ca 4010 949c d9633b9f0715  md qkywxorbhdiml4ku5nw2mhd702 yp 5 n51owsxu

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

8a456b44 3c6a 4e34 8371 61e78852cc87  7029531297 620861934a z Genius Recipes
4,383 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 6, enough to sauce 1 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta

For the Sauce

  • 2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described below, or 2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt to taste

Making Fresh Tomatoes Ready for Sauce

  • fresh, ripe plum tomatoes (or other varieties, if they are equally ripe and truly fruity, not watery)
Go to Recipe
Show More
C4bb42d4 830b 4308 a64a 80edbb84d07c  4988a790 95f8 43e7 bb0f 668f7aeb626b.untitled 31 of 292

Saltie's Focaccia

5dd58b70 52d5 415a 8478 ba9053b33e62  kenzi Kenzi Wilbur
21 Save Go To Recipe
Makes one 18 x 13-inch pan, or enough for 8 to 10 sandwiches
  • 6 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing and drizzling
  • Coarse sea salt
Go to Recipe
Show More

The Green Sides:

2350c75c 7da4 4bf8 aa4e 9cd7696f00fd  05 28 13 rapini 006

Rapini with Vin Cotto

5b7755f4 f84e 4738 be55 06b56e9c2553  dsc 0008 002 em-i-lis
200 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 4

For the vin cotto

  • 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the rapini

  • 1 pound rapini (broccolini), washed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
  • 2 peperoncino intero (about 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, fresh ones!), halved
  • generous pinch kosher salt
Go to Recipe
Show More
335165df 054e 42c3 b77d 703436bd335c  wch1lcdkxn5vm5pjun0ytwwcl6yimcohdp4sf4a0ijm

Allen Miglore's Caesar Salad

8a456b44 3c6a 4e34 8371 61e78852cc87  7029531297 620861934a z Genius Recipes
248 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 4 (you'll want seconds)
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed (or grated or mashed into a paste with a pinch of salt)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) anchovy paste or finely chopped anchovies (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon (I always use a full lemon)
  • 1 head crisp romaine lettuce, washed, dried, torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 stalk celery (2 stalks if small), sliced into half-moons
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to taste
  • Salt, if needed, and lots of freshly ground pepper to serve
Go to Recipe
Show More
16fc3ee6 02cd 47b2 8456 4934902bf7fb  14

Italian Celery and Mushroom Salad

16ae6300 9ff8 4d79 92ca ce242875af48  logo fb Waverly
550 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 4-6
  • 7 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 pound mushrooms, delicate varieties such as cremini, oyster, or shiitake are best, wiped clean as sliced as thin as possible
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 ribs celery, shaved paper thin (use a mandolin if you have one)
  • 1 cup shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
Go to Recipe
Show More

The Cheese (a.k.a. #fourthside):

A170838e cfcb 4af6 b245 b81584c22a75  marinated fennel salad 2

Lemon + Olive Oil Marinated Fennel with Burrata + Mint

85bbfd70 2ea4 44cd aa1d 6ea93883a2dd  image mg 3058 CarolineWright
514 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 4
  • 2 medium heads fennel, cored and very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 6 strips lemon zest, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 ounces burrata
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grilled or broiled bread slices, for serving
Go to Recipe
Show More

The Dessert:

779db881 f525 4679 8e60 4b7862ed6d9f  2015 0929 chocolate hazelnut mousse james ransom 008

Chocolate-Hazelnut Mousse

Af749f95 c306 4400 900d aa681242d56b  alice.medrich.deborah.jones 360x360 Alice Medrich
118 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 8 to 12
  • 1 heaping cup (170 grams) hazelnuts, toasted with most skins rubbed off, divided (see step 1 for instructions)
  • 1/3 cup (85 grams) cream cheese (or mascarpone)
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut liqueur (such as Frangelico)
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) 60 to 66% chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup crème fraîche, cold
Go to Recipe
Show More
Fcf658a7 e679 4b03 a552 8535296fc6b8  fd zabaglione2

Affogato allo Zabaglione

22b9ddc9 fc61 48a3 949e dee341974288  liz and dad mrslarkin
260 Save Go To Recipe
Serves 2 to 4
  • 1 pint premium vanilla, coffee, or chocolate ice cream or gelato
  • 1/2 cup hot, freshly brewed espresso (up to 1 cup if you prefer)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Moscato D'Asti or Marsala (optional)
  • 4 lady fingers (optional)
  • 1 splash Frangelico, Kahlua or liqueur of your choice (optional)
  • 1 drop Whipped cream (optional)
  • 1 pinch Grated bittersweet chocolate (optional)
Go to Recipe
Show More

The drink I'm hoping you already have in your hand:

90b89788 f1c2 45a1 b786 c312033a0022  food52 01 29 13 8832

The Negroni

6c970ad5 6248 4b10 8290 29ba5fccadd2  dsc 0193 Erika Kotite
282 Save Go To Recipe
Makes 1
  • 1 ounce smooth gin (I like Tanqueray or Plymouth)
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Ice
  • Orange peel (for garnish)
Go to Recipe
Show More
Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker!
Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker!

Tags: Entertaining, Italian