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User N. | Dec 21, 2023 | 0 Comments
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Lentils with Sausage for the New Year from Chef Daniela Savone

Growing up there were two things my nonna always made sure I did on New Year's Eve; wear red underwear and eat a spoonful of lentils at a time with each second of the countdown to midnight!  She would always say, "Quello che si fa a capodanno si fa tutto l'anno,"  which translates to, "What you do on the Eve of the New Year you'll do all year long."  So as much as I hated lentils as a kid I was forced to metaphorically eat the hopes and goals for the coming year. 

Lentils coin like shape are believed to bring prosperity in the New Year so the more you eat the richer you will become. They are cooked with onions, garlic, carrots, celery, fresh herbs, in a thick tomato broth and served with Cotechino, an Italian pork sausage. A dish hailing from the Modena region of Italy. Cotechino comes from the word 'cotica' which in Italian means pork rind. It is a divine tasting thick sausage made using pork rind and secondary cuts of pork. It is served over a bed of lentils, sliced up so it resembles coins, ensuring a year of wealth and prosperity to those who indulge. Since sausage contains high fat content it symbolizes abundance and when traditionally served and eaten alongside lentils at midnight it is an omen for the New Year. A custom my ancestors began centuries ago because it was what was available to them during the harsh winters. This annual ritual  continued on after Italians migrated to America, promising to bring blessings for the new year and banish bad luck. 

Historically cotechino is a sausage that contains the meat of the trotter and Italian folklore suggests that the pig signifies "moving forward"  whereas other animals such as chickens or cows move backwards or stand still. Cotechino has mild spices and a juicy texture. It is sold in Italian delicacy stores or Italian butcher shops, but if you are unable to find cotechino, Italian pork sausage works just as well. Lentils and sausage makes for a perfect hearty warm meal on a cold winter's night like New Year's Eve. Like many Italian holiday meals it is steeped in tradition. 

So this New Year's be sure to bring the luck of the Italians to your holiday table. Fill your belly with this RICH and tasty dish at midnight and your wallets will be filled with wealth and your pockets with prosperity!  Buon Anno!

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

1 can of Tuttorosso Italian Inspirations Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 can of Tuttorosso Tomato Paste
1 1lb. bag of Lentils *(be sure to soak lentils in water overnight)
1 Cotechino or 6 hot or sweet links of Italian Pork Sausage
1 large carrot, diced into small cubes
1 stalk celery (only the tender inside part), diced into small cubes
1 medium onion, diced into small cubes
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
3 bay leaves
bundle of fresh herbs tied together (poultry blend; sprigs of rosemary, sage, & thyme)
2 chicken bouillons  cubes
6 cups of water
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil Add the sausage, and lightly brown on all sides.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, parsley, bay leaves, and the bundle of fresh herbs; gently stir. Cook the vegetables and herbs for about 5 minutes, until translucent.
  3. Add the chicken bouillon, stir as they start to melt into the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and the tomato paste, stir well.
  4. Add the water and stir everything together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Transfer to a platter or large bowl with sausage over the bed of lentils.

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