This ciabatta stuffing is PACKED with flavor! Made with fresh herbs, gruyere and parmesan cheeses, pancetta and ciabatta bread, it will be the showstopper of your holiday meal.
I know there are a billion stuffing recipes in the world, but when I say this one is the BEST, I truly mean it.
Growing up, I was never a stuffing fan. To me it just tasted like “mush,” and I didn’t love the traditional stuffing ingredients or flavors.
Fast forward to a few years ago when I tried out a recipe for focaccia stuffing with rosemary that I found in Food Network Magazine. Now THAT was a stuffing I could get behind. It was cheesy, had great texture, and had TONS of flavors from fresh herbs, pancetta, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Over the years, I’ve tweaked that recipe to both simplify it and to make it more accessible by using ingredients that can be found at any grocery store. This version is every bit as delicious as the original, and will convert any traditional stuffing lover.
Use Stale Bread for the Stuffing
It’s best to buy the ciabatta bread a few days before you plan to make the stuffing and/or leave it open on the countertop the night before to dry out. This will allow the bread to absorb all of the juices and flavors without becoming too mushy.
stuffing ingredient Substitutions and Suggestions
There are a variety of substitutions you can make in this recipe if you have trouble finding ingredients, or you want to use up things you already have:
- Bread: In place of ciabatta, you could use focaccia bread or a combination of both ciabatta and focaccia.
- Herbs: You can swap sage with fresh thyme or another herb.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes: If you can’t find the sun dried tomatoes that are NOT packed in oil, go ahead and use the oil-packed tomatoes. Just dab off as much oil as you can, and use a little bit less butter in the recipe. (*Hint – try looking for the sun dried tomatoes in the olive bar/salad bar section of your grocery store).
- Cheese: In place of gruyere, you can use fontina or gouda cheese.
- Pancetta: If you can’t find pancetta, you can use bacon as a substitute. Just be sure to render it down so that it’s crisp and most of the fat is dissolved.
Make ahead stuffing
This recipe can be made ahead and stored in the fridge prior to baking. You can also bake it a day ahead and reheat in a warm oven before serving.
I promise that you’ll fall in love with this recipe if you try it. It’s the ultimate Thanksgiving comfort food.
Rosemary Ciabatta Stuffing
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 6 oz pancetta chopped
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 stalks celery diced
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil) chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh sage chopped
- kosher salt
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
- 12 cups stale ciabatta cubed (about 20 oz)
- 8 oz gruyere cheese chopped
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
- Add 5 tbsp butter to the pancetta drippings in the skillet, and add onion, celery, sun dried tomatoes, rosemary, sage, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Add broth and bring to a boil. Then remove from heat.
- Whisk eggs and parsley together in a large bowl. Add cubed bread, pancetta, vegetable/broth mixture, and gruyere. Stir gently until just combined (avoid overstirring so that that bread doesn't completely fall apart).
- Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
- Bake, covered in foil, for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 30 minutes, until golden brown.