Thanksgiving…Butternut Squash or Pumpkin Caponata & Cranberry – Sausage Stuffing

What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? Pumpkin pi.

Pumpkin Caponata 2

Michael and I will be out-of-town for Thanksgiving, but I managed to prepare several dishes worthy of serving at anyone’s Thanksgiving Dinner and we will taste the caponata and the stuffing tonight night with our maple glazed Cornish hens. 

A great start too many upcoming dishes for the holiday season, fresh homemade sausage and my 15 pounds or so will be ready to use at any time for anything…  Appropriately packaged and frozen I can pull enough out for breakfast, lunch or dinner as well and side dishes. 

Well I didn’t have much luck finding already peeled and cubed pumpkin, but the butternut squash was staring at me begging to be used as a substitute so I did buy it specifically to use in Guy Mirabella’s recipe for caponata.  Different enough, but so far I like the aroma and as he suggests serving with sourdough bruschetta.  A lengthy list of ingredients, but if you have everything prepped, the recipe goes smoothly.  Really good and I think I can add more red pepper flakes. 


½ cup olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon sumac (I never have this)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of dried chili flakes
3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
6 sage leaves (I rough chopped the sage)
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup rough chopped black Kalamata or Italian black olives
½ cup currants
1 large eggplant cut into ¾ inch cubes
1 pound -3/4 inch cubed butternut squash or pumpkin
1 large red bell pepper, cut into ½ inch squares
1 – 28 ounce diced San Marzano tomatoes
1 +1/2-2 cups water
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
A handful of fresh chopped parsley
12 thick slices of toasted/grilled sourdough rubbed with 1 clove garlic


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrot and celery, cook until the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and spices, cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the herbs, capers, olives, currants, eggplant, pumpkin, bell pepper, tomatoes and water and season with salt and pepper.   Simmer for an hour, stirring from time to time.  Take off heat and add the vinegar and sugar, stir thoroughly.  Adjust seasoning, cool and add the chopped parsley…Spoon warm caponata onto the toasted bruschetta and serve. 

 Sausage Hazelnut, cranberry, and apple stuffing

 Crandberry Stuffing Uncooked. 2

1 bag Pepperidge Farm cubes-seasoned, plain or country-style
1 pack concentrated chicken stock
½ cup white wine
2 cups water
1 lb homemade Italian bulk sausage
¾ of a pound fresh cranberries
2 ribs celery, finely diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 large Granny Smith apple peeled and cored small dice
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 small sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Place the bread cubes into a large bowl and toss once or twice.  Heat about ½ tablespoon olive oil in a skillet large enough to hold the broken up sausage and sauté, pour cooked sausage over bread cubes, mix it all up and put the skillet back on the burner, heat and add about 4 tablespoons of the butter add celery, onion, sauté for a few minutes, deglaze with wine and pour over the stuffing and sausage and mix.   Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter toss in the diced apple and the concentrated stock, heat until the stock cube is melted and stir in the water, blend and pour over stuffing and toss in all of the herbs, mix it all up.  Butter a casserole baking dish and add stuffing, dot with a little butter, cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes, or bake for 30 minutes and cover remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes for a little crispier top. 

Cranberry Sausage Stuffing3

Cranberry Sausage Stuffing 3