SERVES 4 TO 6
For Capodanno (New Year's Day), it is traditional to eat lentils and zampone, pork sausage stuffed into the skin of a pig's foot. Here I use natural hog casings because they are more readily available. Because they resemble tiny coins, lentils are eaten as a symbol of good luck for the coming year.
1 1/2 cups lentils
1 tablespoon Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 pound pancetta, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 pound fresh sausage
1/2 cup Tomato and Basil Sauce
1 bay leaf
Fine sea salt to taste
Put the lentils in a bowl, add water to cover, and let soak for several hours or overnight. Drain.
Place the lentils in a soup pot, add 2 quarts of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 35 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pancetta, onion, carrot, and celery, and cook until very soft, about 6 minutes. Remove to a dish.
In the same skillet, cook the sausage, turning frequently, until nicely browned. Remove the sausage to paper towels to drain, then place in another dish and cover to keep warm.
Discard the fat in skillet. Return the vegetables to the skillet, and add the tomato sauce, lentils, and bay leaf. Cook over low heat, covered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt, and remove from the heat.
Cut the sausage into pieces. Pour the lentil mixture into the center of a serving platter, arrange the sausages around it, and serve immediately.
This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1995.
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