Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cotechino Con Lenticchie

Cotechino is a scrumptious Italian sausage that is traditionally eaten with lentils on New Year's Day. I love this dish so much that I don't bother to wait until then, and make it for my community a few weeks ago.

Cotechino is not widely available. Fortunately, I live in the Bronx's Arthur Ave. Little Italy neighborhood, and I have several butchers within a few minutes' walk who make their own.

Pictured: Cotechino con lenticchie for 36!



Serves 4 Italians (or 4 hungry Americans)

1 pound, 5-ounces cotechino sausage

1¾ cups lentils

1 onion, halved

2 celery stalks

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ tablespoons butter

salt and pepper

Prick the cotechino all over and wrap in foil so that it does not burst. Place in a large pan, add water to cover, bring to just a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently for about 2 hours. Leave in the water for 10 minutes before draining, skinning and slicing in ¼ in. slices. If you use a precooked cotechino, you can eliminate the cooking step.

Put the lentils, one onion-half and one of the celery stalks in a large pan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 45-50 minutes until the lentils are tender. Meanwhile, chop the remaining onion-half and celery. Heat the oil and butter in a pan, add the copped onion and celery and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Drain the lentils, discard the onion and celery and add to the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste, transfer to a warm serving dish and arrange the cotechino (heated if necessary) on top.

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