Leftovers from Patti Cowger’s Tuscan dressing, left, if there are any, can be fried in olive oil and butter to become polpetti, right.

Patti L. Cowger photo

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to extend my gratitude to all you readers who typically find me in the Home & Garden section writing about interior design. I enjoy writing on topics that make our daily lives more functional and beautiful, and especially enjoy getting your feedback. So, I wanted to write a special column to show you my appreciation.

You might be surprised to know that, when it comes to the holidays, decorations are not high on this designer’s list. But coming from an Italian family, food is. So, I thought I’d share my grandmother Angiolina Polidori’s recipe for turkey dressing. It is the same recipe, without the bread, that she used to stuff zucchini flowers, cabbage rolls and ravioli.

A week before you plan to make this recipe, buy a loaf of really good (dense) sourdough bread and let it get stale. When you’re ready to get started, soak the bread in chicken broth or milk until soggy and then thoroughly squeeze out the liquid. Break the bread into tiny bits by hand.

Next, saute 6 chopped green onions, 2 handfuls of chopped Italian parsley and 4 chopped cloves of garlic in a little olive oil. Cook 3 handfuls of Swiss chard (or 2 boxes of frozen) and brown 1 pound of lean ground sirloin and 1 pound of Italian sausage.

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Mix all the above, including the bread. Then add 5 or 6 eggs, 10 tablespoons of grated Parmesan (or Romano or Asiago), salt and pepper and an optional tablespoon of pesto. Put all contents in a Cuisinart and pulse 3 or 4 times so that the texture is a little finer than traditional dressing. If it seems too dry, add another egg. You can also add more cheese and/or garlic depending on your preferences.

Now you’re ready to stuff your turkey and bake the rest in a bowl until heated through.

If you have any leftovers, you can make my lifelong, all-time favorite snack that makes me cry just thinking about it: polpetti. Take half a handful of the dressing and roll into the shape of a short, fat hot dog. Then roll it in flour, shake off the excess, and fry in olive oil and butter until the flour makes a slightly brown crust. Enjoy hot or cold.

Patti L Cowger is a Napa-based interior designer and owner of PLC Interiors. For more information about her design services, visit her website at plcinteriors.com; call 707- 322-6522; or email plcinteriors@sbcglobal.net.