Tacchino Ripieno alla Molisana

Stuffed Roast Turkey in the Molise Style

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Preparation info

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Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is a superb recipe for a stuffed turkey from the little-known region of Molise. The food here has many similarities with its northern neighbour Abruzzo, although Molise also shares some culinary traditions with Campania and Apulia - blending different Italian cooking traditions with its own local rustic ingredients. Classic accompaniments for the roast turkey include cabbage, braised onions, carrots or other seasonal vegetables. The same stuffing can also be used for chicken or game birds such as pheasant.


  • 4.5 kg/10 lb oven-ready turkey, with giblets
  • 120 ml/4 fl oz/½ cup olive oil
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 115 g/4 oz/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp freshly grated pecorino cheese
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp currants, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, then drained thoroughly
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1.5 ml/¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp dry white wine
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • stewed lentils or cannellini beans, to serve (see Cook’s Tip)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Pat the turkey dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Trim and chop the giblets and put them into a pan with 15 ml/1 tbsp olive oil and the chopped onion. Discard the neck.

  3. Fry gently until the onion is soft and the meat is browned. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.
  4. When cool, add the breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, pine nuts, currants, parsley and nutmeg. Mix it all together very thoroughly and season to taste with salt and ground black pepper.
  5. Add 15 ml/1 tbsp olive oil, mix again and then use this mixture to stuff the turkey. Sew the neck of the turkey closed tightly, using cook’s string, once you have finished stuffing it. Grease a roasting pan with about half the remaining oil.

  6. Mix the garlic and rosemary into the remaining oil. Stir in the peppercorns and season with salt. Stir the sage leaves into the oil and add the white wine, then use about half of this mixture to brush all over the turkey. Reserve the rest of it to baste the turkey as it cooks.

  7. Roast the turkey, basting frequently, for 3 ½ hours, or until the juices from the thickest part of the leg run clear and the bird is crisp and golden brown.
  8. Carve the turkey and serve it with the stuffing mixture and some stewed lentils or cannellini beans.