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Talking Thanksgiving Turkey with The Cake Boss

Chef Buddy Valastro is best known as the Cake Boss, but he loves to cook more than just pastry. “You would think that I just know how to bake, but I am a really good cook,” he told George Stephanopoulous on Good Morning America as he unveiled a unique way to stuff a turkey for Thanksgiving.

To promote his new book Cooking Italian With the Cake Boss, Valastro showed how to make his Sausage-Stuffed Turkey Rollatini on GMA. He started by sautéing onions, sausage, mushrooms, and spinach, then rolled them up into a butterflied turkey breast. The dish is then tied up and seared in a pan with onions, carrots, celery, and some chicken stock, covered and cooked in the oven for about an hour. “It’s great, just to give you a different spin on turkey,” he noted. “It’s simple to do. It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving for you to do this recipe.”

The “Turkey Boss” explained, “All these delicious, simple family recipes are in my book. My approach to cooking is just do simple ingredients that people could get at the supermarket and enjoy. I’m so proud of this book. It brings back so many family memories.”

Valastro’s also famous for his Turkey Cake, from his Baking with the Cake Boss book, which he demonstrated on GMA last year. “This is one of my favorite cakes,” he says. “It’s so easy to do.” You start with a bundt cake, cut it in half, then use one half to become the tail of the “turkey,” then start adding the “feathers” with different-colored layers of icing.

For his own Thanksgiving feast, Valastro told Single Minded Women he starts cooking the day before. “We will stuff the turkey, tie it, and then bring it to the bakery to cook. We have a big family, so it’s a big bird.” Among his tips: Do stuff the turkey first. “Some people say to cook it without the stuffing because it will dry out, but my grandmother always cooked it with stuffing and it was as juicy as can be, so that is how we do it now.”

Speaking of the stuffing, Valastro raves about his grandmother’s recipe. “My grandmother’s stuffing has all kinds of good Italian ingredients in it. There is sausage, breadcrumbs, cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, mortadella. It’s like, forget about it! It’s the best.”

Valastro also shared his updated version of pecan pie. “It’s great to carry on family recipes,” he said. “It’s very important to honor your family, but you may want to put your own spin on one, so that one day, that is the recipe you are famous for.

“I love pecan pie, but it can be too sweet for me sometimes. So I took my dad’s recipe and thought about what I could do to cut the sweetness just a bit and put my spin on it. I added some chocolate liquor and it worked. It’s to die for!”

A repeat of the “Family Feast” Thanksgiving episode of The Cake Boss airs Nov. 22 on TLC. New episodes air Monday nights on TLC; Season 1 of the show will be released on DVD Dec. 15.

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