Thanksgiving with Chef Sarah Grueneberg

Chefs, Holidays, Meet, Thanksgiving

Sarah Grueneberg is the executive chef of Spiaggia, chef Tony Mantuano’s 26-year-old fine-dining Italian restaurant, long considered one of the country’s best.


After attending culinary school and working in Houston, Texas, Grueneberg joined the team at Spiaggia in September of 2005 as a line cook. With Mantuano’s support, she spent formative time in Italy cooking in the heralded kitchens of Il San Lorenzo and Grano in Rome and Del Pescatore, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Canneto Sull’Oglio, where Tony Mantuano worked prior to opening Spiaggia in 1984. Grueneberg was promoted to executive chef in 2008.


The Dish: Cranberry-Orange Mostarda and Stuffed Cabbage with Rosemary Brown Butter 


Chef Sarah Grueneberg’s introduction to classic Italian mostarda came in the best possible way—in Italy, while cooking at Mantua’s famed Dal Pescatore restaurant. Grueneberg learned how to make apple mostarda, a piquant condiment that is said to aid in digestion of heavy foods. Here, she updates the recipe for Thanksgiving, creating a vibrant alternative to classic cranberry sauce.


The Dish: Stuffed Cabbage with Rosemary Brown Butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano


This rustic Italian dish from chef Sarah Grueneberg is a natural fit for the Thanksgiving table, where it can replace or complement traditional stuffing. Cabbage leaves enclose a salty, savory stuffing of bacon, garlic and breadcrumbs, rich with the heady, festive scent of rosemary.


How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

Cooking turkey and dressing with my family, and always watching the Texas vs. Texas AM game.


What is your number one tip for someone cooking Thanksgiving dinner?

Keep it simple. It is only one day, and you want to visit with your guests.


What’s your favorite pick for Thanksgiving wine and why?

I like Soave from the Veneto for the white and Cerasuolo from Sicily for the red.


What is the inspiration behind the recipes you created for Williams-Sonoma?

Simple and delicious yet different.


Brine or no brine? And why?

Always brine, as it keeps the turkey juicy and flavorful.


What’s your favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers?

Just heat them up and eat as-is!


What was your most memorable Thanksgiving dish and who made it?

My grandma’s stuffed cabbage dish.


What was your favorite Thanksgiving dish when you were a kid and what is it now?

Kid: cornbread dressing. Now: cornbread dressing!


What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

I usually don’t leave room for dessert, but a pumpkin pie is great.


What does Mom or Grandma still make better than you?

Cornbread dressing and homemade rolls.


What do you cook at home that you would never think of cooking at the restaurant?

Different casseroles involving Campbell’s soup!


What’s your favorite kitchen tool?

A turkey roaster for sure.


What do you think is going to be the next big trend in dining?

Not sure–maybe throwback dinner parties.


When it comes to food, what is your guilty pleasure?

Raw oysters.

What’s the one dish you’re always trying to improve?

The turkey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *