The classic flavors of stuffing—celery, onion, sage—marry beautifully with savory Italian sausage and sweet pears in this Thanksgiving side dish.
4 stalks celery
2 medium carrots, peeled
1 large onion
4 large leaves sage, plus small leaves for garnish
3 medium Bartlett or Anjou pears
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb mild Italian sausage, casings removed
8 cups unseasoned dried stuffing cubes
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375°F. Finely chop the celery, carrots, onion, and sage. Peel, core, and chop the pears. Grease a 3-qt baking dish with the cooking spray.
In a large pot, combine the oil and sausage. Cook on medium 8–10 min., until sausage is well browned, breaking up sausage as it cooks. With slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a bowl.
To same pot, add celery, carrots, and onion. Season with salt. Cook 6–8 min. on medium, until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sage and pears. Cook 2–4 min., until vegetables are tender, stirring often. Remove from heat.
Into vegetable mixture, stir the stuffing cubes, sausage, and broth until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer mixture to the greased baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 20 min. Uncover and bake another 10 min., until top is golden. Garnish with extra sage leaves.