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An Italian Thanksgiving feast

The Scotto family shares recipes for the holidays.
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From mozzarella stuffing to the perfect meat lasagna, the Scotto Family from Fresco restaurant share recipes on how “they” do Thanksgiving! Check them out below.



Cheese Filling

3 large eggs

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup mozzarella, shredded

1/2 cup swiss cheese, shredded

2 pounds ricotta cheese

6 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 pound prosciutto, thinly sliced, fine dice

Salt to taste


Add the cheese filling to a large bowl and blend until all ingredients are smooth.

To prepare the dough


1 (10-inch) spring form cake pan

3 cups flour

1 cup unsatled butter, cold, cut in small pieces

1 pinch salt

» cup ice water


Combine flour and salt, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Add ice water all at once and mix just until dough comes together. Wrap in plastic, refrigerate for ½ hour.

Cut dough in half and roll out two separate pieces; one to line the bottom and sides of 10-inch spring form cake pan. Set one aside to cover the top. Add cheese filling, place top dough, brush with egg yolk (this will brown during baking). Puncture top crust in several places with a sharp knife and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.



1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 pound pancetta, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)

3 carrots, finely diced (about 1 cup)

1 onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)

1 small bulb fennel, trimmed and finely diced (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 pound dried navy beans, rinsed and picked over

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 quarts Chicken Stock

3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into /-inch cubes (about 4 cups)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta and cook, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the fat is rendered.

Add the carrots, onion, fennel, garlic, beans, rosemary, salt, red pepper flakes, stock, and 4 to 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 1 hour, uncovered, or until the beans are cooked al dente.

Add the sweet potatoes and Parmesan cheese and continue to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the beans are soft.

Ladle 3 cups of the soup, both solids and broth, into a food processor fitted with the metal blade and puree. Return to the pot and heat through.

Season with additional salt if necessary, and serve.

Serves 6 to 8



For the meatballs

2 slices bread

1/2 cup milk

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup finely chopped onions

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 eggs

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1½ tablespoons chopped garlic

salt and pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

5 cups tomato sauce, warmed

For the lasagna

2 pounds fresh mozzarella, diced

2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

5 pounds fresh ricotta cheese

3 eggs

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper

4 fresh pasta sheets (store-bought), or 2 pounds lasagna noodles


To make the meatballs: Soak the bread in the milk. In a medium bowl, mix the ground beef, bread, onions, parsley, eggs, cheese, and garlic. Add slat and pepper to taste. If the mixture is dry, add 1/2 cup of cold water and mix well. Form into about 12 meatballs.

Place the meatballs in a sauté pan with the olive oil and fry over medium to high heat until brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the meatballs on paper towels.

In a stockpot, heat the tomato sauce over low heat. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer over low heat, covered, for 30 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the lasagna: Mix 3/4 of the mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmigiano Reggiano, and the ricotta in a large bowl. Add the eggs and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Remove the meatballs from the sauce. Crumble the meatballs and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook the pasta until al dente, about 1 minute. Drain and shock in cold water.

To assemble: Preheat the oven to 350F. Pour 1 cup of the hot tomato sauce in the bottom of an 8 x 12-inch baking pan. Place a pasta sheet over the layer of sauce, cutting the sheet to fit if necessary.

Spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the pasta. Spread 1/3 of the crumbled meatballs over the cheese. Add some of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 of the mozzarella and Parmesan. Repeat the layers of sauce, pasta, cheese, and meatballs two more times.

Spread the remaining cup of tomato sauce over the top layer of the pasta and sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the sauce.

Bake the lasagna for 1 hour or until the top is golden.

Serves 6


Serves 10-15


1 pound of Italian sausage without casing

1 pound of ground beef

1 pound of ground veal

1 chopped onion, 8 ounces

2 pounds cooked rice

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1½ pounds mozzarella cheese, diced

Extra virgin olive oil


In a sauté pan, brown sausage and place in a large bowl. Sauté onion, beef and veal until brown and add to the bowl. Cook and cover rice in lightly salted water until al dente, approximately 20 minutes. Add to bowl, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, rice and meat mixture. Place in casserole and bake for about 20 minutes.


6 servings


6 bone in, center cut pork chops

» pound of thinly sliced Parma Prosciutto

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, rough chop

1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, rough chop

» tablespoon freshly crushed black pepper

» cup extra virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 375 to 400. Center cut pork chops should be at least 1½-inches thick and fat trimmed away from bone. Season each side of pork chop evenly with rosemary, sage and cracked black pepper. (Note: Do not season with salt due to Prosciutto’s salty nature). Take 2 pieces of thinly sliced Prosciutto and wrap one continuous band around each pork chop until Prosciutto meets. After all pork chops have been wrapped, heat 10-inch, preferably non-stick sauté pan, to medium-high heat and brown pork chops evenly on both sides (approximately 2 minutes). Place all pork chops on sheet pan and cook in preheated oven for approximately 15 to 20 minutes for medium; 30 minutes for well down.



4 pounds sweet potato

1 cup chopped shallots

½ pound butter

2 quarts heavy cream

2 tablespoons brown sugar

½ tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons pepper



Remove tops from pumpkins and clean the insides. In a dish, add quarter pound soft butter, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ½ tablespoon honey. Mix together and coat the insides of the pumpkins. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes until the pumpkins soften.

Sweet Potato Puree

Boil sweet potatoes, drain and set aside. In a 3quart pot, melt » pound butter, 1 cup chopped shallots and sauté until tender and translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add potatoes, cream and sugar and blend until smooth. Simmer over low heat. Fill each pumpkin with the sweet potato puree and bake for 4-6 minutes at 325 degrees.



1¾ cup all purpose flour

» teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

8 ounces butter

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Sift together dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. Spoon the batter into the dish. In a small bowl, mix together ¾ cups light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and ¾ cups hot water. Pour liquid over the batter, and place the baking dish into a larger pan into which you will pour enough hot water to reach halfway up the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes (until pudding is barely set and has begun to pull away from the sides of the baking dish). Serve warm with warm butterscotch sauce.



8 ounces butter

1 pound light brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons light corn syrup


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and remove from the heat.


Graham Cracker Crust

7 ounces graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup cake flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

6 ounces unsalted butter (melted)


Combine all ingredients. Press onto the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan which has been covered with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 12 min. and set aside.



1 cup chestnut puree

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 pounds whole milk ricotta

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth and pour into prepared spring form pan. Place pan inside a larger pan in the oven. Fill larger pan with hot water. Bake at 300 for 1 1/2 hours, then turn off the oven and allow cheesecake to cool for 1 hour. When completely cooked, wrap well and refrigerate.