New Year's Eve feast: Italian sausage and lentils

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Delicious ways to ring in 2014 Italian style

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Looking to ring in the new year with something tasty? Celebrate 2014 with unique and festive winter dishes from Italian chef Marisa May.

Casteluccio lentils with cotechino


  • Lentils

    • 1 Tbsp Casteluccio lentils
    • 1 ea small onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 oz pancetta, cut into strips
    • Sage leaves
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cotechino

    • 8 lbs pork rind
    • 10 lb pork shoulder, whole
    • 8 lb pork jowl or neck
    • 1 1/2 lb salt
    • 4 Tbsp black pepper
    • 3 oz saltpeter
    • 1 Tbsp ground cloves
    • 1 tea ground cinnamon
    • Natural casing, if possible


Baking Directions:

To make the lentils: Soak the lentils in water overnight. Sauté the onion with the pancetta and a few sage leaves in a casserole. Cook until tender but not brown. Strain the lentils and add them, covering with lukewarm water.  Add the salt and pepper to taste and cook for one hour over medium heat, or until the lentils have absorbed all the water.Serve with cotechino. To to make the cotechino: Clean the pork rind, pass it over a flame, and scrub it. Grind it together with the rest of the meat and blend the resulting mixture with the other ingredients. Using a funnel, pack the meat into the casings. Take care not to leave air bubbles while stuffing. Avoid pressing too much, however, to prevent the casing from breaking.  Tie the upper end of the casing with several knots, cut the string, and tie a single knot about every 10 inches, leaving 1 loop to hang each cotechino. Cut the casing and repeat the operation, creating several cotechini. Hang them by their loops and let them dry at least one day. When dried, cotechino may be stored for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.  It is then boiled before eating.  Put the cotechino in cold water and let stand for a few hours. Then prick it with a fork all over (so that it does not explode while cooking), change the water, and bring to a boil over medium heat.  When it begins to boil, lower the heat, cover the pot, and cook 1 hour for each 10 ounces. Let it stand in its cooking water for about 15 minutes before serving. 

Spaghetti aglio olio and peperoncino

Serves 4


    • 1 box spaghetti (recommended: La Molisana Spaghetto Quadrato)
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 5 ea garlic cloves, sprouts removed
    • 1 Tbsp peperoncino (hot red pepper flakes), or more to taste
    • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
    • Salt to taste


Baking Directions:

In a pot, bring water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook til just al dente. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Crush the garlic cloves and add to the pan along with the peperoncino. Sauté until the garlic starts to brownStrain the pasta and add to the sauté pan. Toss with olive oil, peperoncino, and garlic sauceSprinkle the parsley over the pasta to garnish and serve immediately