Note You will need to begin this recipe the day before. Cotechino is a large pork sausage from Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy made with pork rind, meat and spices and is available from Italian butchers and delicatessens. Soaking the cotechino removes the salt added for preservation.
The cotechino is one of Italy's great gifts to the meat-loving world: a sticky, succulent combination of coarse-textured porky bits and fine spices, its satisfying depth of flavour enhanced by the earthy nuttiness of the lentils and the piquant cut of the salsa verde. Full-bodied, dry red wine made from the nebbiolo grape is a marvellous accompaniment: nebbiolo is famous for its mouth-puckering tannin and ethereal, heady perfume - the tannin melts when it comes into contact with the sticky fattiness of the cotechino, and the wine's aromatics match the salsa perfectly. Originally from Piedmont in Italy's north-west, nebbiolo is also finding a comfortable home in many Australian vineyards. - Max Allen