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Cotechino With Lentils – Italian New Year’s Tradition

Cotechino and lentils is a typical dish for New Year’s Eve.

Mainly for two reasons. 

First, if you’ve ever received an Italian Christmas Gift Basket you’re most likely have found cotechino precooked cotechino sausage among other typical products.

So New Year’s is a perfect time to prepare cotechino. But of course it’s a popular comfort food dish to make anytime in cold months.

Second, in Italy, there’ s popular belief that if you eat lentils right after the midnight on the New Year’s Day it will bring luck and prosperity in the new year.

Of course, you’ll eat just a couple of tablespoons to honor the tradition. Normally it’s the last meal of the New Year’s dinner and even if you eat out at the restaurant it’s never missed.

Lentils are then reheated and served with cotechino sausage on New Year’s Day for lunch.

This is the time when you eat a whole portion.

Cotechino on a bed of Lentils

Tips & Tricks For Making Cotechino With Lentils

  • Cotechino juice  – it’s your personal preference if you want to discard it or pour over lentils.
  • Since it’s fatty and rather heavy (especially after all the holiday eating) I normally discard.
  • If you prefer, you can add cotechino juice to the lentils cooking water or a couple of tablespoons when reheating them the next day.
  • Make a big portion of lentils since they taste delicious even the next day.
  • Cherry tomatoes – instead of using tomato passata (tomato puree) add a coupe of quartered cherry tomatoes.
  • Garlic – a lot of Italians also add a garlic clove or 2 when cooking lentils. Again, it’s a personal preference. Discard it together with the herbs when lentils are cooked.
Cotechino Sausage on a plate with lentils

How To Cook Cotechino

Precooked Cotechino

Follow directions on the package. Normally, it takes 20-30 minutes of boiling for sealed precooked cotechino to be ready to serve.

Fresh Cotechino

Let fresh cotechino soak in cold water for about 2 hours. This will make the skin softer and will prevent it from baking when boiled.

With a toothpick or a skewer make a few holes around cotechino sausage. This will also prevent it from breakage. Wrap cotechino in cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine.

Fill a large pot with cold water enough to cover cotechino. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Cooking time depends on the cotechino quality you get.

If you buy fresh cotechino at the butcher, ask them how long their cotechino should be cooked.

How To Cook Lentils

In a large pot add salted water, lentils, bay leaves and a rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil and cook according to directions on the package. As a rule, lentils cook in about 20 minutes.

Once lentils are cooked remove the aromatic herbs and drain reserving come cooking liquid for later if needed.

While lentils are cooking, prepare carrot, onion and celery soffritto.

In a skillet pan add a drizzlle of extra virgin olive oil and pancetta cubes.

Sautee until it starts to sizzle.

Add finely chopped carrot, onion and celery. Sautee for about 5-7 minutes and add tomato puree (tomato passata). Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add cooked lentils to soffritto and simmer for another few minutes adding some cooking liquid from lentils if needed.

How To Serve Cotechino & Lentils

Arrange lentils in a large platter. Cut cotechino in thick round and arrange on bed of lentils.

A more rustic way is to serve a portion of lentils and a couple of rounds on cotechino sausage directly in one’s plate.

A classic dessert for New Year’s Day is of course Tiramisu.

Make a big portion for the big family crowd.

Cotechino and Lentils

Cotechino With Lentils

Cotechino and lentils is a typical dish for New Year’s Eve that is believed to bring luck and proseprity in the New Year. Why not to try!
Print Pin Rate / Comment
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • Cotechino sausage (precooked or freshly made)
  • 1 lb dry lentils
  • 1 carrot , chopped
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 2-3 celery stalks , chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 3 tbsp tomato passata (tomato pure)
  • cup pancetta (bacon cubes)
  • Pinch of pepperoncino (chili flakes)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Cook Cotechino

  • Precooked
    Follow directions on the package. Normally, it takes 20-30 minutes of boiling for sealed precooked cotechino to be ready to serve.
  • Fresh Cotechino
    Let fresh cotechino soak in cold water for about 2 hours. This will make the skin softer.
    With a toothpick or a skewer make a few holes around cotechino sausage to prevent it from breaking. Wrap cotechino in cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine.
    Fill a large pot with cold water enough to cover cotechino. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Cooking time depends on the cotechino quality you get.
  • If you buy fresh cotechino at the butcher, ask them how long their cotechino should be cooked.

Prepare Lentils

  • In a large pot add salted water, lentils, bay leaves and a rosemary sprig. Bring to a boil and cook according to directions on the package. As a rule, lentils cook in about 20 minutes.
  • Once lentils are cooked remove the aromatic herbs and drain reserving come cooking liquid for later if needed.
  • While lentils are cooking, prepare carrot, onion and celery soffritto.
    In a skillet pan add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and pancetta cubes.
    Saute until it starts to sizzle.
    Add finely chopped carrot, onion and celery. Saute for about 5-7 minutes and add tomato puree (tomato passata). Cook for another 5 minutes.
    Add cooked lentils to soffritto and simmer for another few minutes adding some cooking liquid from lentils if needed.

Serve Cotechino & Lentils

  • Arrange lentils in a large platter. Cut cotechino in thick round and arrange on bed of lentils.
  • A more rustic way is to serve a portion of lentils and a couple of rounds on cotechino sausage directly in one’s plate.
Cotechino With Lentils Pin

Happy New Year!

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