Italian New Year's Eve Tradition: Cotechino and Lenticchie – A Culinary Celebration

Italian New Year's Eve Tradition: Cotechino and Lenticchie – A Culinary Celebration

Dec 21, 2023Federico Milone

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve in Italy, a time-honored tradition unfolds, celebrating prosperity, good luck, and abundance. Cotechino and Lenticchie, a delightful pairing of pork sausage and lentils, takes center stage in Italian households. Join us as we delve into the significance of this culinary tradition and uncover a delicious recipe for preparing Cotechino and Lenticchie at home.


The Symbolism Behind Cotechino and Lenticchie

In Italy, the choice of foods for New Year's Eve is steeped in symbolism. Cotechino, a slow-cooked pork sausage, represents the richness and fatness of the coming year. Its circular shape also signifies continuity and the cyclical nature of life. Paired with lentils, which resemble small coins, the dish is believed to bring good fortune and wealth in the coming year.

Cotechino and Lenticchie Recipe


  • 1 Cotechino sausage (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)


Preparing Cotechino

  1. Rinse the Cotechino under cold water.
  2. Place the sausage in a pot and cover it with cold water.
  3. Bring the water to a gentle simmer and cook the Cotechino for about 2 hours or according to the package instructions.
  4. Once cooked, let it rest for a few minutes, then carefully slice it into thick rounds.

Cooking Lenticchie

In a separate pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until vegetables are softened.

Add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Pour in the rinsed lentils and stir to coat them in the aromatic mixture.

Add bay leaves and pour in the broth.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy (about 20-25 minutes).

Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Bringing It All Together

Serve the sliced Cotechino on a bed of the cooked lentils.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Enjoy this symbolic and flavorful dish with family and friends.


As you savor the delicious combination of Cotechino and Lenticchie on New Year's Eve, you not only partake in a culinary delight but also embrace a centuries-old tradition of luck, prosperity, and good fortune. May this cherished Italian dish usher in a year filled with abundance, joy, and the warmth of shared traditions. Buon Anno!


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