Cotechino with Lentils

Today I want to share with you a classic Italian recipe: cotechino with lentils.  I don’t think there is a single household in Italy that will not serve this dish on New Year’s Eve.  It is a huge tradition.  Also, lentils are supposed to bring good luck and money in the new year, so we all eat at least 1 tablespoon of lentils at midnight, no matter how full we are!  You wouldn’t want to miss out on that now, would you?  The recipe is pretty straightforward.  The key is to get a good cotechino (and I am lucky enough to find excellent ones in Sydney!).  Cotechino is an Italian charcuterie product that looks similar to salami, but it is made with pork meat, pork rind (cotica), fat and spices and must be cooked before being eaten.  It is not something you would eat everyday, but we do it eat at least on New Year’s Eve!  And with this recipe, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a fantastic New Year 2013!

Cotechino with Lentils

5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4 to 6
  • 1 cotechino
  • 250 gms brown lentils
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  1. Take a skewer and make some holes all around the cotechino. This will prevent the skin from breaking while cooking.
  2. Put it in a big enough pot and cover it with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the flame to low and simmer for 3 hours.
  3. When ready, let it cool down completely and then cut it in 2 cm – ¾ inch slices.
  1. Put all the ingredients in a pot (or in a pressure cooker), cover them with just enough water and cook until the lentils are tender. Make sure not to cook them in too much water, you want to get a thick “soup-like” consistency at the end (like in the pictures below).
  2. Serve both warm.


Cotechino with Lentils

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  1. says

    What can I say? It wouldn’t be New Year’s without lentils and cotechino—or, even better in my book—a zampone. I caught the bug when we were living in Rome and never looked back, even if it can be a real challenge to find a good cotechino here in the US (outside New York)—and you can forget about finding a zampone!

    I do have to admit, however, that I generally used (and still use) those vacuum-packed versions. So quick, so little fuss and those oily juices are so delicious mixed into the lentils… I even did a post about it some time back—and was scolded by some fellow bloggers for this heresy!

    I do have one question that I never really cleared up during all the years we were in Italy: exactly when to eat the dish. I always made the lentils ahead and, as you say, had at least a few bites at midnight, even after a fairly hefty cenone di San Silvestro. But I’d wait until lunch on the first to serve the full deal cum sausage. It was just too much food otherwise—but I always wondered whether this was a ‘sacrilege’… and, for some reason, never bothered to ask anyone. Could you resolve this long-standing doubt in my mind?

    • says

      Hi Frank! Thanks for the comments! :-)
      I think every family has their traditions, but usually we have cotechino and lentils on the 31st (better if at midnight). By then everyone is too full to have a proper serving, so we usually share a slice with some lentils and whatever is left is kept for the 1st (lunch or dinner)! :-)
      Have a fun filled New Year’s Eve and a fantastic 2013! :-)

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