Lenticche con Cotechino, Forza Gualdo Tadino!

December 30, 2009
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6 (I hope)
Author Notes

This is typical Italian "capodanno" fare. New Year's Eve. It's very simple if you can find the right ingredients. And in fact if you've been sitting on a cold, stone bench seat in Gualdo for a C1 match this will warm you right up. Castellucio lentils are preferred, highly prized in Italy. It calls for a bit of hot pepper, which I didn't expect to discover in Umbria but actually it's quite common. The cotechino sausage is more typical of Emilia-Romagna, but it is consumed in Umbria. But substitute another seasoned sausage if necessary. True cotechino is not permitted for import but there are very good domestic versions available on both coasts. I was in Eataly in Manhattan a few weeks ago and they carry it (although that place doesn't need more clerks, it needs docents). —pierino

What You'll Need
  • 17 ounces (450 grams) Umbrian lentils
  • 1 celery rib, divided with one part chopped and set aside
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup basic tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (small handful) hot pepper flakes, see note below.
  • salt
  • 1 pound or slightly larger cotechino, or equivalent in other fully cooked sausage
  1. Bring sufficient salted water to boil. Enough to just cover the lentils. Add them along with the the intact part of the celery rib and one clove of garlic. Allow about 20 minutes cooking time over low heat.
  2. Meanwhile saute the chopped celery and remaining garlic clove in the oil. Add the hot pepper (don't go nuts), and the tomato sauce and simmer.
  3. Prick the sausage and add to the pan intact and color it a bit on all sides ("rosolare"). Add enough water to come up about a third of the way. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, turning and stirring occasionally.
  4. When you are satisfied that the lentils and sausage(s) are cooked through, remove the sausage and set aside for slicing. Combine the sauce with the lentils. Serve with slices of cotechino on each plate.
  5. Note to cook: as I said I was a little surprised to discover how common the use of hot pepper is in Umbria. I use a Roman style blend that includes not only hot pepper flakes (with seeds) but also dried garlic and parsley. You can find a similar product packaged in Umbrian markets.
  6. Second note to cook: in Italy for "tomato sauce" they would typically use passato which is a bit thinner than our canned sauces.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Niknud
  • Rita Banci
    Rita Banci
  • AntoniaJames
  • mrslarkin
  • pierino
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

10 Reviews

Niknud December 28, 2011
I clicked through to this post from the NYD hotline question. Sounds awesome; can't get enough of lentils. I do a similar one with cured chorizo (which oozes all the delicious spicy oils into the lentils although I usually remove the chorizo coins before serving), tons of red pepper flakes, tomats and an obscene amount of the 'good' olive oil. Very decadent and rich and spicy and fantastic served over crusty bread! May we both enjoy a prosperous 2012!
pierino December 28, 2011
Yes indeed! The tradition of lentils (as coins) is not just Italian. It's almost global, so you can do it anyway you like because it's going to taste great and lead to prosperity.
Rita B. December 31, 2010
@Antonia: well, lentils are the symbol of prosperity because they look like little coins. Tradition says that the more lentils you eat on New Year's Eve, the more money you'll get the next year. That' s why everyone eats lentils on this occasion (even my father who hates them....). As for cotechino, I can't say why it's a traditonal New Year's dish, but I suppose there must be a story behind it. I'd love to check. :D
By the way, happy New Year to you and everybody here!
Rita B. December 29, 2010
I couldn't help commenting an Italian recipe. Cotechino e lenticchie rule on New year's Eve tables. Go Pierino!
AntoniaJames December 29, 2010
Rita, aren't the slices of cotechino symbolic of prosperity, or something like that, due to the slices being in the shape of coins? Or perhaps I'm thinking of some other New Year's dish . . . . in any event, as soon as I get done with my client work today, I'll be on the way to my favorite Italian grocer (the same one that sells chestnut flour!!) to get both the Umbrian lentils, just like the ones shown in pierino's photo, and some cotechino. We eat lentils with sausage all the time, but these will be extra special!! ;o)
AntoniaJames December 27, 2010
Great classic recipe. I liked it when you posted it last December, and I like it even more now. I'm definitely going to find some cotecchino, as well as some of those Umbrian lentils (available locally!) to make this for New Years. ;o)
pierino December 27, 2010
AJ, I checked with Corti Bros. and they don't have cotechino in stock right now but they are expecting it soon. As you might suppose, at New Year it can be hard to find because it's in demand.
innoabrd December 6, 2010
Yum. I can actually get a good, hand-made cotechino here from the italian butcher up the road. I used it recently in a cassolet and it was fabulous.
mrslarkin December 31, 2009
Memories of my mother's cooking. One of my favorites. Thanks for recipe.
pierino December 13, 2016
Ale-pia salumi now makes it in Atascadero, CA
They do ship. Also they tell me that DiPalo in NYC is interested in their salumi.