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Marinated Roast Turkey

Serves 10 to 14


This is my favorite recipe for roast turkey because the marinade infuses into the skin and the breast meat, producing a more tender, juicy bird. It is especially enjoyable for Thanksgiving. The soy and balsamic marinade forms the basis for a rich dark sauce or gravy.  Use a fat separator when draining the drippings for the gravy. If you're roasting a larger bird, just increase the marinade ingredients accordingly. You can also stuff this turkey, but it takes a little longer to cook the turkey if it's stuffed, about an hour longer. This marinade is also excellent on a turkey breast when you don't feel like cooking the entire bird (see note). Remember to start this recipe a day ahead.


Recommended Wine

Pair this dish with Syrah, Pinot Noir, or Zinfandel.



2 medium shallots, finely chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch of pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried


One 14- to 16-pound turkey, cleaned and patted dry

1 large orange, sliced with the skin on (if not stuffing)

1 onion, sliced (if not stuffing)

2 onions, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cups Chicken or Turkey stock (page 397), or more as needed



1.  The day before you want to cook the turkey, marinate it. Combine the marinade ingredients in a large nonaluminum mixing bowl. Taste for seasoning.  Starting around the main body cavity, carefully slip your hand under the turkey skin, being sure not to break the skin. (You may need to wear gloves if you have long fingernails). Place the turkey in the bowl. Pat the marinade under the skin and all over the bird on both sides on top of the skin. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. Baste with the marinade a few times.

2.  The next day, preheat the oven to 325°F. To stuff the turkey, place the stuffing loosely in the neck and main cavity and close the flaps with skewers. If you have not stuffed the turkey, place the sliced orange and sliced onion in the cavity and tie the legs together. Rub the marinade remaining in the bowl all over the turkey. Place the chopped onions and carrots on the bottom of a large roasting pan. Pour the stock over the vegetables. Set a nonstick roasting rack in the roasting pan and place the turkey on top, breast side up. 

3.  Place the turkey in the center of the oven and roast it, basting about every 45 minutes with the accumulated pan juices, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170°F and the juices run clear. You may need to add more stock if the pan becomes too dry. A 16-pound turkey this should take about 4 hours; 5 hours if it's stuffed. Be sure to check the temperature at 30-minute intervals as the finish time approaches. A number of variables here that affect the cooking time. 

4.  Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer it to a large platter or carving board. Let the turkey rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Discard the vegetables and reserve the pan drippings for the gravy, using the fat separator to avoid excess fat.


Advance Preparation: Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead through step 1, covered, and refrigerated.


Note: If you're roasting a turkey breast, use the same amount of marinade and roast at 325°F for 18 to 20 minutes per pound to an internal temperature of 170°F.

Butternut Squash Lasagne

Serves 10 to 16 


Lasagna has always been out of reach for the Seriously Simple cook. However, using no-cook noodles and peeled and cubed squash make this dish a snap to put together. An elegant first course, main course or side dish on a buffet, this lasagna is an upscale version of the famed tomato and meat classic. Here, creamy sweet butternut squash is enriched with mascarpone for the filling. A simple white sauce is sparked with a bit of Dijon and nutmeg and the combination of cheeses add a piquant finish to create a new twist on this culinary classic. Serve this for all the vegetarians at your table for Thanksgiving. You can make this ahead and just bake before serving-- a great dish for entertaining.


Recommended Wine: Lighter reds such as Pinot Noir or Sangiovese (e.g. Chianti) are fantastic food partners as they beautifully cut through the richness of cheese and sweet vegetables such as butternut squash. A crisp, barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc will also skillfully mate with the same. For the adventurous, a bottle of rosé bubbly will be a hit.


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes butternut squash (about 3 pound whole butternut squash)

Seriously Simple Salt (see page xxx)

Freshly ground black pepper

Pinch freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground sage

1 cup vegetable or chicken stock or water

1/2 cup mascarpone


White Sauce

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 cups milk

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

salt andground white pepper

Pinch freshly ground nutmeg


1 pound no-cook noodles

3 cups shredded mozzarella or combination of Italian cheese, or Gruyere or Comte Swiss

1 1/3 cups freshly grated parmesan Cheese


Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Preheat the oven to 375F.



1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash, seasoning salt and pepper, nutmeg and sage and mix to evenly coat, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, cover and cook on medium-heat for about 15 minutes or until very soft. Remove the cover and with the back of a large spoon or a potato masher, mash the squash. Add the mascarpone and mix to blend well. Reserve.

2.  For the white sauce: Heat the butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and whisk well until combined. Slowly add the milk and continue whisking until no lumps remain. Cook, whisking, continually, until the sauce will coat a spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg and whisk to combine. Reserve.

3.  Assemble the lasagna: Spoon about 3/4 cup of the white sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish. Place a layer of noodles on top and then spread 1/3 of the squash on top of the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella and 1/3 cup Parmesan. Drizzle over 1/2 cup of sauce on top of the cheese. Repeat the process 2 more times and then finish with a layer of noodles (a total of 4 noodle layers). Spread the remaining sauce on top and then sprinkle over the remaining 1 cup shredded cheese and 1/3 cup Parmesan evenly. Cover tightly with foil and place on a baking sheet.

4.  Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and place the lasagna on an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler. Bake another 20 minutes or until the top has a golden brown cheese crust and the sauce is bubbling. (You can also turn the oven onto broil and finish browning the lasagna for about 2 minutes, or until evenly browned.) Let rest for about 20 minutes and then cut into serving squares.


Advance Preparation: This may be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking. It also may be frozen after it has been baked. Defrost and reheat for about 20 minutes in a 350F oven or until heated through.


Holiday Lasagne with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto

Serves 8 to 10


This one-dish pasta recipe evolved with the help of my dear friend Laurie Burrows Grad. One of our first cooking days together was spent making Ed Giobbi's delectable lasagne recipe, which took the two of us 10 hours to put together. 


This streamlined interpretation is meatless, lighter than the original, and will win raves from your guests. I like to serve this for holiday buffet dinners. Accompany the lasagne with a mixed green salad and some warm crusty bread. For dessert try Orange, Almond, and Olive Oil Cake (page 353) and a bowl of fresh berries.


Recommended Wine

This dish works well with Sauvignon Blanc or a bright and lively Chardonnay. A tangy Gamay Beaujolais or Pinot Noir would also be a good choice.


Roasted Vegetables

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 medium zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), cleaned and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds

2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced

1 1/4 pounds medium mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup pesto, Mixed-Herb Pesto, or Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto )pages 402-4)


White Sauce

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups hot whole milk

Salt and white pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Ricotta-Cheese Layer

1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese

3 large eggs

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Salt and white pepper to taste


1 pound fresh or dried green or white lasagne noodles

3/4 pound thinly sliced Muenster cheese, diced

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese



1.  To roast the vegetables, preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large roasting pan, combine the oil, zucchini, peppers, leeks, and mushrooms and toss to coat all the ingredients. Roast the vegetables until softened, about 45 to 50 minutes, turning occasionally to keep them from sticking. (Note: If water accumulates in the pan during cooking, pour off the excess and continue to roast.)  Transfer the vegetables to a mixing bowl, cool, and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss the vegetables with the pesto, taste for seasoning, and set aside.

2.  To prepare the white sauce, melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Off the heat, whisk in the flour until blended. Return the pan to the heat and cook the flour for 2 minutes, whisking continuously, until it is bubbling but the mixture has not changed color. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the hot milk, beating to prevent lumps. Return to the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and whisk until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and taste for seasoning. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.

3.  To prepare the ricotta-cheese layer, combine the ricotta, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a medium mixing bowl and mix well.

4.  To prepare the noodles, cook in a large pot of salted boiling water (10 minutes if dried, 3 to 4 if fresh), until just al dente. Drain and place the pasta in a mixing bowl; cover with lukewarm water. When the noodles are tepid, lay them in a single layer on paper towels to dry. Blot the pasta dry and set aside.

5.  Preheat oven to 375°F. To assemble the lasagne, spread half of the white sauce on the bottom of a deep 13-inch-long ovenproof lasagne pan. Top the sauce with one third of the noodles, then half of the vegetable pesto mixture, then half the ricotta-cheese mixture. On top of the ricotta-cheese mixture, place half of the Muenster. Continue building the lasagna with the second third of noodles, the remaining white sauce, the remaining vegetables, and the last third of the noodles. Add the second half of the ricotta-cheese mixture, the remaining Muenster and then sprinkle 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese evenly on top. With a serrated knife, cut the lasagna into even squares which will help when you serve it.

6.  Bake the lasagne for about 45 minutes or until piping hot and bubbling throughout. Cut into slices and serve immediately.


Advance Preparation

Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead through step 5, sealed in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature and continue step 6. It can also be frozen. Bake the lasagne without defrosting for 1 hour at 375°F or until piping hot in the center.


Layering Order


If you get as confused as I do with all the separate layers in this dish, here's the sequence:


1/2 white sauce

1/3 lasagne noodles

1/2 roasted vegetables with pesto

1/2 ricotta-cheese mixture

1/2 Muenster 

1/3 lasagne noodles

The rest of the white sauce

The rest of the roasted vegetables with pesto

The rest of the lasagne noodles

The rest of the ricotta-cheese mixture

The rest of the muenster 

A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese

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