- 1 (1 pound) ciabatta loaf, cut into cubes (about 5 cups)
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bulb fennel, chopped, fronds reserved and chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, or more
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, divided
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking dish and set aside.
- Toss the ciabatta cubes with the melted butter.
- If using fresh ciabatta bread, place on a baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. If the bread is stale, skip this step.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the de-cased sausage meat, breaking apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until browned all over. Remove the sausage from the skillet and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered grease.
- Return the skillet to the heat and add in the garlic, onion, fennel, rosemary, and celery. Reduce heat to medium and saute until the onion and fennel are soft, about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss together the ciabatta, garlic mixture, and sausage until evenly distributed. Add in the broth, a bit at a time, until the ciabatta is all moistened but not soggy. Make sure to toss the ciabatta as you add in the broth to make sure it’s all evenly saturated. Add additional broth if necessary. Mix in half of the parmesan cheese, half of the fennel fronds, and all of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining parmesan. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the top has browned. Top with the reserved fennel fronds and serve warm.