A bit of history: “The annual rite of consuming good luck food for New Year’s Day is observed all over the world. Exactly what you consume depends largely on where your ancestors came from and what was available there during the winter. In Italy, lentils are eaten as a symbol of good luck and prosperity because they resemble tiny coins. Tuscans eat lentils with “Cotechino”, a large pork sausage. “
Sausage and Lentils
(Serves 4 to 6)
1-1/2 cups lentils
1 pound Cotechino sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup pancetta, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the lentils in a large saucepan. Add 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
Pierce the skin of the sausage all over with the tip of a sharp knife. Place the sausage in the saucepan with the lentils. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Remove the sausage and set it aside to cool. Drain the lentils and set aside.
When the sausage is cool enough to handle, slit open the skin and remove.
Cut the sausage into thin slices. Cook the sausage slices in a skillet until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove the sausage and set aside.
Add the olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Sauté the pancetta, onion, carrots, and celery in the olive oil until soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, lentils, and bay leaf. Cook over low heat, covered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf.
Pour the lentils onto a serving platter and arrange the sausages around them. Serve. Enjoy!
Any flavorful Italian sausage may be substituted.