Every once in awhile there comes along a recipe that is so good, that even as I am eating it, I am sitting there thinking about when can I make it again. How often can I actually make this without it losing it’s charm? Well, that was what it was like with this stuffing. As we were eating it, we were talking about all the different things we could have it with. Really it could be anything, because it wasn’t stuffed in the turkey, and there is nothing in it that screams make-me-only-at-Thanksgiving. Maybe was different for you, but Thanksgiving in my midwestern home did not include pancetta and Parmesan cheese.
One thing I have to mention, I searched in vain for jars of roasted chestnuts. I went to three different grocery stores, before I finally gave up. I thought about buying whole chestnuts and roasting them, but since I have actually never roasted a chestnut, only sang about roasting them, it didn’t sound like something I wanted to attempt at Thanksgiving. So, I left them out. I didn’t even substitute anything, just left them out. But I am here to tell you that even without the chestnuts, it was amazing. This is now my stuffing recipe, forever and ever, and not just for Thanksgiving.
Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
8 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (7.4-ounce) jars roasted peeled whole chestnuts, coarsely broken
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 pound day-old ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 15 by 10 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a large bowl. Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic. Saute until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the chestnuts and parsley. Transfer the onion mixture to the large bowl with the pancetta. Add the bread and Parmesan 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.
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.