In Emilia-Romagna it's traditional to ring in the wintry New Year by serving lentils either with cotechino, a cured sausage sticky with collagen, or with zampone, stuffed pig's trotters, to bring luck to the year ahead.
- 1 cotechino (about 500gm; see note)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 8 golden shallots, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 300 ml dry white wine
- 800 ml veal stock
- 500 gm black lentils, rinsed (see note)
- 1Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add cotechino in its thick plastic wrapping, reduce heat to low-medium, weight cotechino with a lid or plate to fit inside saucepan and simmer until cooked (2 hours). Drain, thickly slice and keep warm.
- 2Meanwhile, for braised lentils, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add celery, carrot and shallot and stir until very tender and starting to caramelise (10-15 minutes). Add garlic, stir for 1 minute, add wine, cook until reduced by half (2 minutes), then add stock and lentils. Bring to the simmer over medium heat and cook until lentils are tender (30-40 minutes). Stir in parsley and season to taste. Transfer to a platter, top with cotechino and serve hot.
Cotechino is available from select butchers and Italian delicatessens. We favour the one made by Montecatini Specialty Smallgoods. Black lentils are available from select delicatessens. If they're unavailable, substitute small green Puy-style lentils.
This recipe is from the April 2012 issue of