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Italian lentils

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The Italians traditionally eat lentils and sausages on new years eve. The lentils are meant to represent money - the more you eat the richer you will be! Traditional sausages are Zampone and Cotechino, both are large sausages weighing up to 1 kg which are boiled and served in large slices. They can be obtained from a few sausage specialists, delis (who sell them vacuum packed) and the Italian site Esperya.

350 g green or brown lentils (either Puy lentils from France or Castelluccio lentils from Umbria)
Large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small dried red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped (optional)
Large can chopped tomatoes
A few sage leaves and a small sprig of rosemary
Salt and black pepper


Gently fry the vegetables, garlic and chilli (if using) in olive oil for 10 minutes
Add the tomatoes and herbs, simmer briefly
Add the lentils, cover with cold water (or stock), bring to the boil and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes or until tender
Check seasoning and serve

Suggested Sausages

Any spicy sausage, for an authentic Italian dish try Zampone or Cotechino

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