Lenticchie di Capodanno
Styling: Anita Parise
Blog: Anita Parise
Photography: Anita Parise
Recipe & Inspiration: New Year traditions – Here’s to good fortune and good health!
Italians are not only known for their rich cultural heritage, beautiful food and picturesque landscapes, but also for their traditions. Each region has its own traditions that are carried out at particular times of the year. Given that we are approaching the end of 2018, it was fitting that we honoured a few of the popular and quirky Italian traditions over New Years Eve.
You might not know that Italians are actually quite superstitious and wearing red undergarments on New Year’s Eve is definitely a thing. The colour red signifies good luck and fertility and is often associated with warding off evil. Just after Christmas, even mannequins in window displays all have red undergarments on. As funny as it is, it’s a tradition that I am not prepared to mess with. So mutande rosse per me!
Aside from red undies, they love a good celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with food? Usually a cenone or multi-course dinner is prepared between family and friends, which involves everyone’s favourite food being served. Being the middle of winter in Italy at this time of the year, it makes sense that usually hot foods are prepared. One very customary dish that is typically served just on midnight or just after, is lentils, or Lenticchie di Capodanno. These lentils are prepared often with cotechino which is a sausage made from the meat of the pig’s trotter. History suggests that eating this at midnight will bring you good fortune and good health for the coming year.
What New Years Eve is complete without fireworks? Italians are BIG on fireworks! Unlike here in Australia, fireworks are readily available in Italy during their festive months. I recall my first time in Italy for New Years, and having the daylights frightened out of me all day from the echoing boom of random fireworks being tested. As midnight approaches, you will notice many young people letting off fireworks and if you are in a high up position, right on midnight, you will see a spectacular display of fireworks; not only from your paese but from all the surrounding towns around and below. Truly magical!
As always, we hope you enjoy the recipes that we have selected and prepared for you. As a little surprise, we have also created a unique take on this dish which is much more suited to an Aussie Christmas.
We trust you all are enjoying the lead up to Christmas and the New Year festivities. Stay tuned for our extra special Christmas Day recipe that we are positive you will love! The last recipe for the year is in the making this week, so keep an eye on our socials for all the links and mouth-watering snaps!
Ciao for now and buon appetito!
Anita, Renee and the GR Team
- 2x celery sticks, finely chopped (for the lenticchie)
- 2x carrots, finely chopped (for the lenticchie)
- 1x onion, finely chopped (for the lenticchie)
- Some olive oil (for the lenticchie)
- 2x cups of green lentils, washed (for the lenticchie)
- 2.5 litres of chicken stock (for the lenticchie)
- 3x bacon bones, chopped. Ask your local butcher to cut these for you (for the lenticchie)
- Some parsley to garnish, chopped
- 1x stick of celery,finely chopped (for the salad)
- 1x carrot, finely chopped (for the salad)
- 1x onion, finely chopped (for the salad)
- Some olive oil (for the salad)
- 1.5 litres of chicken stock or vegetable stock for a vegetarian option (for the salad)
- 1x punnet of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (for the salad)
- 1x small container of pitted Kalamatta olives, (for the salad)
- 1x punnet of baby cucumbers, cut into 2cm pieces (for the salad)
- 1/2 bunch of parsely, chopped (for the salad)
- 1/2 bunch of mint, chopped (for the salad)
- 1/2 bunch of chives, chopped (for the salad)
- A medium sized bag of rocket (for the salad)
- A good glug of extra virgin olive oil (for the dressing)
- The juice of one lemon (for the dressing)
- 1 tsp of dijon mustard (for the dressing)
- Salt to taste (for the dressing)
- To make the lenticchie, begin by finely chopping the celery, carrots and onion and add them to a large pot with a splash of olive oil. Saute the soffritto until the onions start to become translucent (be careful not to burn these).
- Next, add the bacon bones and cover with the soffritto mixture.
- Add the washed lentils and stir once again to combine.
- Cover with the stock and cook on high until the liquid starts to boil. Once boiling, turn down the burner down to a moderate flame and cook for approximately 35 - 40 minutes - that is until the lentils are al dente. We suggest you taste along the way – the lentils should retain their integrity but be a little soft to the bite.
- Just before serving, pull the meat away from the bacon bones (discarding the course fatty skin) and place on top of the lentils.
- Sprinkle over some parsley and you are all set for your traditional New Years Eve Feast!
- ** We used bacon bones as this is how my mother prepares this dish. However, if you can get your hands on some 'cotechino' then go for it! It is the pork sausage traditionally used to make this dish afterall.
- To make the salad, begin by finely chopping the celery, carrots and onion and saute in a large pot with some olive oil. Add the lentils and mix well, sauteing for a few minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and simmer stirring often for approximately 25 – 30 minutes. The lentils will need to be cooked but are to remain al dente. Once you are happy with the texture of the lentils, strain and discard the liquid. Set aside to cool down in a shallow dish.
- In the meantime, prepare all the other ingredients as per the list.
- Mix the dressing in a small dish and ensure it has emulsified together.
- Next, add the chopped ingredients to the cooled lentils and mix well to combine. Add the dressing and season with salt to taste.
- On a serving platter lay the rocket as a bed to place your lentils on top of.
- For that extra wow factor, you can add some of your favourite cheese on top – I would opt for a salty cheese like Danish feta to really give your lentils that punch of flavour.