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How to Make an Italian Thanksgiving Turkey
Discover an easy way to make the kind of turkey even the native Italians will gobble up
By Francesca Di Meglio
Even though every Italian I know makes a turkey for Thanksgiving, none of them really long for it in the way Americans do. It's all right, but it comes second to whatever the pasta of the day is. My people usually do lasagna or baked ziti pre turkey. This year, we're opting for stuffed shells just to do something different.
Of course, before the pasta we have antipasto like any good Italian celebrating something. That's why last year, I turned our antipasto platter into a turkey. Give the people what they want is what I always say. This is so easy that anyone could incorporate it into their own Thanksgiving meal. And I've seen lots of pinners on Pinterest doing the same thing with fruit or cheese platters. All you need is a diverse array of finger foods and your imagination.
If that sounds like too much work for you, then just do what I did. Here's how:
- Gather the cold cuts, cheese, and other items (in this case, olives) that you want to include as "feathers." Then, get a pear to serve as the head and body of the turkey. I also picked a smidgen of a fresh basil leaf to use as the waddle. A piece of a red pepper would work just as well (or maybe even better, thanks to its red color). You'll need two poppy seeds for the eyes. Of course, you'll need a round platter. A white one would have been better. I had one that actually had a spider web on it from Halloween. Sometimes, you just have to use what's on hand. That's perfectly fine.
- Peel and slice the pear. I chose to keep the slice somewhat thick. I used a knife to carve a little beak and then just laid the basil down in place. I did use a dollop of cream cheese on the back of the pear slice to hold it in place.
- Begin to cut and position your salumi (cold cuts, dried sasuage, olives, cheese, etc.). You could just as easily have used slices of ham, prosciutto, or thin salami. In that case, however, I would be sure to fold each slice into a narrow rectangle, so that you can build up and make the "feather."
- Place it on the buffet and listen for the oohs and aahhs. The turkey will be gone before you know it. My platter was empty in about five minutes flat.
- Have yourself a happy Thanksgiving. Merry! Merry!
Di Meglio has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003.
You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10.
Article Published 11/21/16
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