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Lentils for Great Winter Eating!

Lentils are part of the cuisine of the landlocked region of Umbria and the most famous are the creamy lentils of Castelluccio, grown on the plains near the Sibillini mountains. This tender pulse retains its shape in cooking and requires no presoaking. Lentils lend a nutty flavor in this leek and sausage soup/casserole, as well as provide loads of protein.

Lenticchie e Porri con Salsicce
Lentils and Leeks with Sausage

Serves 4 to 6
1 1/2 cups lentils
1  1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage links
1/4 cup diced pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large leek, white bulb only, cut into thin rings
2 ribs celery, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 cups coarsely chopped plum tomatoes
5 cups vegetable or beef stock

Preheat the oven to 325F
Pour the olive oil into a heavy duty oven to table pot and brown the sausage along with the pancetta over medium high heat. Transfer the sausage and pancetta to a dish and set aside.

Sauté the leek, celery and carrot in the pan drippings until they soften. Stir in the garlic and cook until it softens.

Raise the heat to high, and pour in the wine; allow it to come to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and stir in the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the lentils.

Return the sausage and pancetta to the pan and cover the mixture with the vegetable or beef stock.

Cover the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. 

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