One of the most popular Italian dishes in autumn and winter is cotechino with lentils. Cotechino is a cooking sausage made of pure pork, including the gelatinous parts such as ear and cheek. The long cooking time makes it succulent and delicious. The combination of lentils (Castelluccio are the best) and fungi makes this dish very appetising.
- 300g larch bolete or wood blewit mushrooms
- 2 cotechino sausages, either pre-cooked or raw (about 350g each)
- 8 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 200g Castelluccio or puy lentils
- Up to 800ml chicken stock, depending on the type of lentils
- 1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Clean the mushrooms, and cut into halves or quarters if large. Simmer the sausages in water for 30 minutes if pre-cooked, or 2 - 3 hours if raw. Put half the oil in a pan, add half the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook them until soft in the moisture they will exude. Set aside. In a casserole dish, heat the remaining oil and fry the tomatoes, carrot, celery and remaining garlic until soft. Add the lentils and as much stock as necessary: Castelluccio lentils will need less stock because they are ready in 20 minutes; Puy lentils need more and a longer cooking time. Cook until the lentils are fully tender, 20 - 30 minutes. Add the rosemary, season to taste, then mix with the mushrooms, adding a tablespoon of water if you think necessary.
- Serve hot with slices of cotchino and perhaps some boiled potatoes.