Cotechino con Lenticchie

Cotechino con lenticchie is a New Year tradition in Italy - and in my family! It has a funny story though. My Nanny used to say she was making “coteging” and my mother never really cared for the dish. Neither did I.


A few years ago, Mom and Dad were celebrating New Year’s at Senza in Bayville NJ - when the Chef came out and offered them a plate of "cotechino with lentils” for good luck in the New Year! My mother couldn’t believe this was the same meal Nanny had been making all her life! She asked Chef for the recipe and he told her what to do - and explained that he sells the sausage at his deli!

Turns out, cotechino is like balsamic vinegar, regional olive oils, and certain cheeses - it’s a PGI product. Or “protected geographical indication” - what the hell does that mean? It means the entire product was sourced, and crafted in a specific region, using specific ingredients and methods. It’s a quality symbol; so you know you’re not getting an imitation product. In a country that prides itself strongly on its foodstuffs - making sure you’re getting the real deal makes sense! For Americans, it’s a great thing to look for so WE know we’re not buying a fake product (which there are LOADS of!).


Lentils are the classic side dish for cotechino. In Italian tradition, lentils look like coins - bringing good luck, abundance and financial success into your new year! They’re also a great compliment to the fatty, creamy cotechino! It’s all about balance! Watch the video, then try the recipe below! And may you have a happy, healthy, wealthy, blessed New Year!

Buon Anno! Buon Appetito!

Cotechino con Lenticchie
Serves 4

1 cotechino sausage
2 veal cutlets, pounded thin
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 C. stock
2 C. Lambrusco wine

For the Lentils
2 Tbs.
A&G olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 C. lentils (brown)
8 C. vegetable stock
salt and pepper

For the Cotechino:
Fill a medium stock pot with water. Set over medium heat. Place the cotechino, in its foil packet, in the water and allow it to come to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat, carefully remove the packet and drain the water.

Carefully cut open the foil packet and remove the cotechino. Pour some of the fat from the packet into the bottom of the same pot you warmed the sausage in. Set aside.

Remove the casing from the sausage and wrap in veal cutlets, tying them on with kitchen twine.

Place the pot over medium heat. Once the fat is hot, add onions and begin to saute’ for 5 minutes. Place cotechino in pan with onions and gently brown on all sides.

Pour stock and wine into the pot with the cotechino, the liquid should only go about half-way up the sausage (this is more important that using all of the wine, so just use your eye to judge). Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, turning the sausage for about 45 minutes to an hour. The veal will turn the color of the wine.

Once cooked, remove the cotechino from the pot and place on a cutting board. Cut off and discard the kitchen twine. Slice the cotechino into 1/2 inch rounds.

For the Lentils:
In another medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion, carrot and celery. Saute’ for 5-8 minutes until everything begins to get soft. Add in garlic and saute’ another minute.

Add lentils to the vegetables and stir. Cook for 1 minute. Then add in stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for about 20 minutes, or until lentils are tender.

Serve your dish:
Spoon cooked lentils into a platter. Top with sliced cotechino and a spoonful of the cooking liquid. Serve for your New Year’s celebration or throughout the winter!

Buon Anno! Buon Appetito!