While Thanksgiving isn’t exactly an Italian celebration, it is an occasion that brings together family and friends and has been wholeheartedly embraced by the Italian-American community in the U.S. Since this is also a time to devour delicious food, the “Italian Thanksgiving” brings with it its own set of recipes that are both flavorsome and unique.
This is what a typical Italian-American Thanksgiving spread looks like:
Appetizer – Antipasti
Like all appetizers, the ones served before the Thanksgiving meal are also light to eat and meant to enhance the dining experience. Antipasti usually comprises of roasted peppers, baked tomato-and-ricotta bites, artichokes and cold cuts. Paired with a glass of white wine, these delightful snacks are the perfect way to get started on the Thanksgiving meal.
First Course – Primi
Having savored the delicious antipasti, it is time for the actual meal to begin. The first course is where the “Italian-ness” of the feast really shines, and what’s an Italian meal without pasta?
There are a number of ways pasta can be incorporated into a Thanksgiving lunch. You can choose to have a dish of spaghetti with meatballs, or go for a more pronounced Italian flavor with a three-cheese lasagna or ravioli con la zucca (pumpkin ravioli). You can also make a light broth with pastina (tiny bits of pasta). Other must-have items during this part of the meal include sweet Italian sausage and brasciole, accompanied with thick gravy.
The fun doesn’t stop here!
This is just the first chunk of the feast, and there’s still a lot more to follow that Italian lunch. Take a break from all the eating and play a game of scrabble or chess while you wait for the food to digest, because the next round of meal is going to be just as grand as the first one.
Main Course – Secondi
It’s not a Thanksgiving meal without turkey! A traditional American Thanksgiving component, the turkey is delicately stuffed with vegetables, sausage, and heaps of mozzarella, and roasted until its succulent and beautifully glazed. Tacchinella alla melagrana is a special Italian version of the traditional turkey roast and is accompanied with giblet-and-pomegranate gravy.
Of course, there have to be ample of side dishes to go with the bird, and there is no limit to how many you opt for! Popular items include pumpkin pies, baked sweet potatoes, cranberries, and marshmallows.
This is followed by roasted mixed nuts and coffee, and then it’s time for dessert!
Desserts – Dolci
There is a huge variety of Italian pastries to choose from to satisfy your sweet tooth. Cannoli, Amaretti (macaroons), Pasticiotti (custard filled pies), Tricolori (rainbow cookies), and Eclairs are amongst the most popular sweet delicacies found on an Italian-American Thanksgiving spread.
Another item you can expect to see on the menu is good old fruit. Pomegranates, tangerines, apples; it doesn’t matter what you go for as long as there is some kind of fruit present on the table.
And viola! That’s a typical Italian Thanksgiving meal for you! Don’t forget to try out some of these delicacies this November for your Thanksgiving dinner!
The Italian Guru
Christopher V. Carovillano is a first-generation Italian-American who goes by the nickname “The Italian Guru” due to his devotion to and personification of Italian values. His blog and YouTube channel are dedicated to promoting the Italian philosophy for a better understanding of Italy’s history and traditions.