- A cotechino weighing a pound (500 g)
- 1 pound (400 g) green lentils
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- A bay leaf
How to make Cotechino con Lenticchie:
Suppose you have the industrial kind follow the directions on the package, which usually calls for it to boil in its pouch for a half hour or so. If you have the raw variety, such as the one from A.G.Ferrari, prick it all over, then put it in a pot of cold water (a fish boiler is perfect here) and bring the pot to a slow simmer.
Cook over a low flame for 2-3 hours; during this time, the cotechino will give off quite a bit of fat and shrink considerably. Serve the cotechino, cut into half-inch slices and serve it at once — they’re not so good cold, nor do they take well to reheating.
To make the soup from the Abruzzi region, you’ll need the ingredients listed above. Soak the lentils overnight. The next day drains them, transfer them to a pot, and cover them with lightly salted cold water.
Bring the pot to a simmer, add the remaining ingredients except for the cotechino, and cover. Simmer gently for about 2 hours. While the lentils are heating in their water, put the pricked cotechino in a second pot with cold water sufficient for it to float (assuming you’re starting with a raw cotechino).
Bring the pot to a slow boil and cook it for about 2 1/2 hours. Follow the box’s directions for the partially cooked version (usually cook for about 30 minutes).
Serve the soup hot, with half-inch slices of cotechino.
Regional recipe from Emilia-Romagna
The Cotechino-lentil combination is one of the most classic in Italian cooking. A cotechino is a somewhat gelatinous pork sausage about 3 inches in diameter and eight long. It is very much a winter thing, traditionally served with the lentils that augur good fortune on New Year’s Eve.
Zampone is made with the same kind of pork meat fitted in a pork leg, making it very tender. In Italy, cotechini and zamponi are sold both raw and partially cooked. Yndella sells the cooked kind on the Internet with overnight shipping but does not deliver to North America.
Cotechino and zampone are the main characters of the feste natalizie (Christmas holidays), even if used mostly at fine dell’anno (New Year Eve). We speak of zampone and cotechino Modena, two specialties of which Emilia Romagna is most proud. First came the cotechino, then the zampone.
The idea to put the pork meat in the pork leg was the inhabitants of Mirandola, the famous Giovanni Pico della Mirandola city.
How to get Cotechino in the USA
Domestic Cotechino Beretta is an Italian traditional specialty that is produced using an old-centuries recipe. It is made from a mix of thoroughly selected pork meat, seasoned with natural flavorings, spices and stuffed in a natural casing. This traditional sausage from Italy has just recently been approved to enter the U.S. market. Beretta Cotechino is very easy to slice and an amazing plate served with some lentils.