Saturday, June 12, 2010

Salsiccia con lenticchie

Claudia Roden's 1989 The Food of Italy is one of my most used Italian cookbooks. From Norcia in Umbria (not that far from the home of sagrantino, in Montefalco), she transcribes a traditional sausage and lentil dish using the tiny brown lentils of Casteluccio. I do versions of this with Australian-grown puy lentils.

While your cup or more of lentils are soaking, fry off a bit of bacon or pancetta, then follow with onion, garlic, celery, salt and pepper. Sweat off until soft and a bit coloured, then add the drained lentils, cover with water and simmer until done. It should take 20-30 minutes, and you might need to top up the water. When nearly done, fry some Italian or other good pork sausage and serve the sausages on a bed of the lentils.

A good variation of this is to finish the lentils with an addition of chopped spinach or silverbeet and braise until done. Occasionally, when the sausages are cooked and resting, I'll transfer the lentils and juices into the sausage pan for deglazing and taking up flavours from the sausage fry. Not the healthy version, but tasty.

And wine? Sangiovese goes well with this, or older cabernet. You could also try a montepulciano from Abruzzo.

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