Lentils and pork sausage for New Years in Italy

I am celebrating New Years Eve in Italy for the first time this year. 2020 is full of a lot of forced firsts but I’m okay with this one. I like to eat.

The Italian tradition is to eat lentils when the clock strikes midnight as they are thought to resemble coins and to bring wealth in the new year. Fortunately, it is Italy so they also serve the otherwise healthy, high fiber, and low fat legume with cotechino, a rich pork sausage.

My Italian boyfriend claims that while lentils are served at midnight, he’s rarely seen a great deal of them eaten as everyone is still too full from dinner. Dinner is often late in Italy, usually around 9 PM which means your lentils and pork sausage would come not soon after. I guess this is where the challenge comes in. It’s not easy to get rich eating lentils when you are already stuffed.

We’re going to modify the tradition and include the lentils and cotechino in our dinner which means we will already be full at midnight. Wealth and no hangovers in the new year!

Pre-made cotechino in a vacuum sealed pack makes the preparation of this dish super easy. That’s ours ready and waiting in the photo above. A regular Italian sausage with lentils will also do in a pinch. The lentils are the lucky part after all. The sausage just brings the party.

Lentils and cotechino

Serves 4

  • 1 pound (500 grams) of lentils
  • 1 pre-cooked cotechino in a vacuum sealed pack
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Pancetta or bacon, diced
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Warm the cotechino by simmering it in its vacuum sealed pack in a pot of hot water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Cook the onion and pancetta in some olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the lentils to the onion mixture and cook for a minute or two.
  4. Add some water and cook the lentils until tender. You can also add some of the liquid from the cotechino pack when you open it.
  5. Open the warm cotechino and slice it into rounds.
  6. Place the lentils in a serving dish and top with the sliced cotechino and serve.

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