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Video: Delicious ways to ring in 2014 Italian style

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    >> back now at 8:50 with today's kitchen. we're getting ready for new years eve. it's that time with a traditional italian feast. she's the owner of a restaurant and wine bar here in new york city . good to see you.

    >> thank you.

    >> happy holidays to you. this is a good way to go for new years. big italian feast.

    >> yes, italians are very superstitious. there's many dishes we have to make sure we eat for good luck and prosperity.

    >> you eat them at odd times of the morning.

    >> it starts at the stroke of midnight and continues all the way to 4:00 a.m .

    >> eating late into the night .

    >> yeah.

    >> so it's a very fatty pork sausage from italy and we pair it with lentils and they represent coins. and it represents the richness of the new year. so make sure it's very fatty.

    >> tough to find it? it's not in a regular grocery store is it?

    >> it might be but you can use sweet italian sausage if you have to. what we do first is poke holes in the center.

    >> what does that do?

    >> drains the fat while it's cooking. we'll place it into simmering water and that will cook about two hours.

    >> about two hours?

    >> yes. and in the meantime we sauteed panchetta and onions and olive oils. and we'll put in our lentils and we'll add rosemary and sage. and then we're going to pour some lukewarm water.

    >> that smells incredible.

    >> and we're going to let it simmer for about an hour. that's the finished product.

    >> so you slice it up and just put it over the lentils.

    >> that's the opening course. there's a lot from there.

    >> at 2:00 a.m . after dancing and singing and drinking you get the munchies. it's important that you put a lot of garlic into this because this will ward off the evil spirits during the new year.

    >> really?

    >> you put some parsely, a little bit more olive oil .

    >> will you actually do this on new years eve? will you be up eating until 5:00 in the morning.

    >> yes, i will.

    >> you throw down at your house.

    >> yeah. it's important you get all of your italian vitamins. we'll do it and plate it.

    >> what kind of pasta?

    >> this is a square spaghetti. if you'd like to take a bite you can.

    >> i'd love it.

    >> as the night goes on, at 4:00 a.m . in the morning you're craving sweets.

    >> there's more.

    >> yes there is. so we're going to go over here and it's honey fried dough balls and this is to bring sweetness in the new year.

    >> those are beautiful.

    >> these are deep fried and sprinkled with honey and put sprinkles on top and you eat them. we traditionally make them on christmas but eat the left overs on new years eve for good luck.

    >> there's a nice winding down about 4:00 in the morning.

    >> it is and at the end you want sweet wine . this is a hot wine with cinnamon, honey, oranges and lemon.

    >> hi.

    >> did you all hear about this feast? once at midnight and then at 2:00 and then at 4:00.

    >> we live for the feast.

    >> you're not going to be up at 4:00. you go to bed at 10:00 .

    >> i know.

    >> very important too is that you have to make sure you wear red underwear for good luck.

    >> oh, really?

    >> oh.

    >> you're wearing them now?

    >> i am.

    >> it has to be brand new.

    >> brand new red underwear?

    >> yeah.

    >> we have to go shopping.

    >> this is amazing.

    >> poor willie doesn't feel well.

    >> i'm going to eat it tomorrow. in fact, if i could stay up until 5:00 a.m . i would eat everything. happy new year. thank you so much.

TODAY recipes
updated 12/26/2013 4:01:31 PM ET 2013-12-26T21:01:31

Recipe: 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

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. 

Recipe: Spaghetti aglio olio and peperoncino

  • 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

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 brown

Strain the pasta and add to the sauté pan. Toss with olive oil, peperoncino, and garlic sauce

Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta to garnish and serve immediately 

Serving Size

Serves 4

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