This is an ex-boyfriend's family's recipe that I've been making for years now. (Thank you, Donny!)
2 loafs white bread, cubed (I prefer Challah)
1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage (I buy in bulk at Whole Foods; otherwise, remove casings)
1 1/2 cups chopped leeks
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
2 T fresh thyme
1 T fresh chopped sage
1/4 cup butter
2 cups chicken stock
Roasted Garlic Oil:
2 garlic heads
3 thyme sprigs
1 cup olive oil
Cut 2 garlic heads in half and place on the bottom of a baking dish. Add in 3 sprigs of thyme. Now, pour 1 cup of olive oil over top. Place into a preheated 300 degree oven for 1 hour. While the olive oil is in the oven, dice the two loaves of bread. You want to remove the crust and discard. You want to fill a 10 x 15 baking dish. When the olive oil has finished, remove from oven and strain out the garlic and thyme. Place the diced bread into a large container for mixing. Pour 3/4 cup of the garlic infused olive oil over the bread. Using two wooden spoons mix the bread till all the cubes are coated with the oil. Place onto a large cookie sheet and place into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Be sure to mix the bread cubes every once in a while. This will help to brown all sides.
In a large sauce brown the sausage till cooked and remove any fat that is left over after frying. Set aside. In another saucepan add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of butter. Once the butter has melted, sauté the carrots, celery and leeks. Sauté for a few minutes till tender. Add the vegetable mixture to the cooked sausage. Pour the browned bread cubes back into the large mixing container. Add the cooked sausage, thyme, and sage. Pour in the 2 cups of chicken stock and mix till all the chicken stock is absorbed. Add a little black pepper and salt to taste. Pour mixture into a 10 x 15 baking dish.
Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove tin foil and bake uncovered for another 35 minutes till the top is lightly browned.
Serves 8 hungry people