Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cotechino and Beans

Usually served on a bed of braised lentils, cotechino sausage is an Italian New Year's Eve tradition, originally from the ancient town of Modena but now spread throughout the country. Eating the thick, round (coin shaped) slices if thought to bring good luck and good fortune in the new year. It's never too soon for fortune and good luck so when I saw a nice plump cotechino on the shelf I decided to bring it home and serve it up.
There were plenty of lentils in the pantry and polenta too -- another traditional accompaniment. But we had aplenty of fresh beans, north shell and green waiting to be picked so I decided on a sauté of beans topped with the mild flavored sausage.
I simmered the cotechino in water flavored with garlic, celery and bay leaves for about 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile I brought the beans (shelled only) up to a boil and let them simmered until tender (about 20 minutes). For the last 5 minutes or so I added in the green beans to cook through. Just before serving a sautéed the bean mix in olive oil with leeks, garlic, chili flakes, and prosciutto then added a dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and dijon mustard and let the mixture heat through. The sausage slices (not traditionally) I crisped in olive oil before placing on the colorful bean combo.
Good Luck, Good Fortune, Happy New Year (early).

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