Herbed Ricotta Stuffed Turkey with Pumpkin Sauce

Let’s talk turkey for a second here.

I have something to tell you all that may come as a shocker given my self proclaimed status as holiday lover extraordinaire. The one thing I am not crazy about during the holiday meals is the turkey itself.

Stunned silence. I know.

I like all the stuff that goes with the turkey- the mashed potatoes, the cornbread or rolls, the stuffing, and green beans, my baked apple crumble, the fall soups and salads, and of course the pies. But for the actual star of the Thanksgiving show?

Turkey with an Italian twist: stuffed with herbed ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. A good alternative for Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey with an Italian twist: stuffed with herbed ricotta and Parmesan cheeses. A good alternative for Thanksgiving dinner.

Eh.

I could take it or leave it. Turkey is just so… turkey like. I make it because it’s traditional and my guests enjoy it. Plus it does smell amazing while it’s cooking. And even though everyone else says our turkey is very good and flavorful (we generally brine it and stuff garlic cloves into the meat of the turkey and then stuff it with thyme, parsley, onion, garlic, and sage), to me it’s just…

Ricotta and Parmesan stuffed turkey with Parmesan pumpkin sauce. Perfect for Thanksgiving, turkey recipe, smaller Thanksgiving recipe,

Ricotta and Parmesan stuffed turkey with Parmesan pumpkin sauce.

Eh. I am the world’s pickiest poultry eater. Won’t like it if it tastes too much like turkey or chicken.

Plus, our Thanksgivings are fairly small. We usually only have 4 people total for dinner, and once or twice it has just been my hubs and I. To make an entire turkey for that many people sometimes seems superfluous. (Check out that Grinch reference) especially given that we eat leftover turkey for like a day before I can’t eat it any more. Now on the other hand, I will happily eat left over mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and baked apples for days and love it.

Ricotta and Parmesan stuffed turkey with Parmesan pumpkin sauce. Perfect for Thanksgiving, turkey recipe, smaller Thanksgiving recipe,

Ricotta and Parmesan stuffed turkey with Parmesan pumpkin sauce. Perfect for Thanksgiving.

So, I thought I’d try something a little different to try to get excited about the star of the show. So kind of like you would mix veggies into a pasta dish to get a kid to eat them, I added two of my favorite things: pumpkin and cheese (Italian cheese naturally- Parmesan and ricotta). And boom, a turkey lover was born.

Ricotta and Parmesan stuffed turkey with Parmesan pumpkin sauce. Perfect for Thanksgiving, turkey recipe, smaller Thanksgiving recipe,

Ricotta and Parmesan stuffed turkey with Parmesan pumpkin sauce. Perfect for Thanksgiving with my own Italian spin on things.

This dish is a delicious and different alternative to the traditional roast turkey and perfect for smaller Thanksgiving gatherings. It’s unique but still plays homage to traditional flavors. Truly a turkey win. It doesn’t need to cook all day long, is perfect if you have a smaller gathering, and you won’t be up to your eyeballs in leftovers. Even non turkey lovers like me and non pumpkin lovers like my hubs will eat this and enjoy it in all it’s cheesy, creamy and yes turkey-ey goodness.

Herbed Ricotta Stuffed Turkey with Pumpkin Sauce

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 pound (4) turkey breast tenderloins
  • 1 cups of ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh sage
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup of chicken or turkey stock or broth
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of fat free half and half or light cream
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, divided
  • 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary, divided

How to Make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. While the oven is heating, finely chop your onions and cook over medium low heat in one tablespoon of olive oil. Season them with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the onions are soft and golden about 7 minutes. Add pressed or minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together half of the onion and garlic mixture (leave the other half in the pan), 1 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tablespoon each of thyme and rosemary, 1 tablespoon of fresh sage, and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley. Mix together until incorporated and set aside.
  4. Pound the turkey breast tenderloins with a meat mallet to flatten them. Season both sides with salt, pepper and the remainder of the dried thyme and rosemary. Spread approximately 1/3 of a cup of the cheese mixture on one side of each tenderloin and then roll the tenderloins up. Secure with a toothpick.
  5. Heat a grill pan with the remaining olive oil to medium high heat and let the pan get nice and hot. Sear the turkey roll ups for about 2 minutes on one side before flipping and searing the other side for two minutes.
  6. Spray a cooking dish with nonstick spray. Place each rolled turkey tenderloin turkey side down on the baking dish. Bake covered for 30-35 minutes or until the temperature of the turkey reaches 160 degrees.
  7. While the turkey is cooking, reheat the remaining onions and garlic in a large skillet. Stir in the pumpkin puree, the remaining Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Cook for approximately 1 minute and then stir in the cup of stock. Bring to a slow simmer and then remove from heat and finish with the remainder of the fresh sage and parsley. Serve over the stuffed turkey.

Other Thanksgiving Recipes You May Like:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Gingered Butternut Squash Soup. Perfect for Thanksgiving or a chilly night.

Roasted Gingered Butternut Squash Soup. Perfect for Thanksgiving or a chilly night.

Roasted Spiced Pear Salad

Roasted Pear Salad. Spiced up with ginger and cinnamon. Perfect for a fall lunch or a starter for Thanksgiving dinner.

Roasted Pear Salad. Spiced up with ginger and cinnamon. Perfect for a fall lunch or a starter for Thanksgiving dinner.

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

gluten free salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving dessert

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake. The perfect Thanksgiving dessert.

Cornbread

finished cornbread

finished cornbread

Other Non Conventional Turkey Recipes You May Like:

Christmas Burgers

Turkey burgers seasoned with sage, marjoram, and poultry seasoning served with melted sharp cheddar cheese, a sliced green apple and cranberry mayo.

Hello Christmas burger. You can get in my belly now.

 

 

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Comments: 7

  1. Cindy Eikenberg November 15, 2013 at 7:42 am Reply

    Jenna, this sounds seriously delicious! I absolutely love ricotta – I wish my hubby did, but maybe I can try this anyway! Thanks for sharing and pinning! Have a happy Friday!

    • SensationallySeasonal November 15, 2013 at 9:20 am Reply

      My hubs isn’t a ricotta fan either- but there was so much flavor in it that he actually ate it instead of scraping it out the way he does with some other things (like stuffed shells). Thanks for stopping by and pinning! Have a great weekend!

  2. Kenneth Goh November 15, 2013 at 8:35 am Reply

    Your picture is wonderful. For us too, a turkey apparently is too big for us and I like your sentence: ” I am the world’s pickiest poultry eater. Won’t like it if it tastes too much like turkey or chicken.” I believed it will taste like chickey or turken! Just joking! Pin in my Group’s board. Have a nice day!

    • SensationallySeasonal November 15, 2013 at 9:19 am Reply

      Hahaha yes it probably still does taste a little like turkey but not so gamey the way some turkey can taste. I suppose it would be bad if turkey tasted like chocolate or something…unless it was chocolate and then that would be ok :-) Thanks for stopping by and pinning!

  3. Easy Life Meal & Party Planning November 21, 2013 at 9:29 am Reply

    What a wonderful recipe it sounds delicious and unique! Thank you for sharing on the Four Seasons Blog Hop last week (sorry I am behind).

    • SensationallySeasonal November 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm Reply

      Thanks for stopping by. (Sorry if I submitted it twice!)

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