A happy New Year to all my Italian food–loving friends. As many of you already know, New Year’s dinner in Italy revolves around lentils. Lenticchie, with their round shape, represent prosperity. They’re traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day to bring wealth and good fortune. I’ll be cooking up a pot of my much-loved Castelluccio lentils from Umbria this New Year (you can find them at many Italian specialty stores and at www.buonitalia.com). These beautiful greenish beige lentils keep their cute round coin shape when cooked, and they taste earthy and rich, especially with zampone or cotechino, two fresh sausages from Modena, the former stuffed into a pig’s trotter, that are also part of the Italian New Year’s good luck table. I got myself a cotechino, too, since I need all the luck I can get. And if you’d like to visit someplace spectacular, take a trip to Castelluccio in the Spring, when the valley will resemble this photo. If you’ve ever seen the somewhat sappy Zeffirelli movie ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’, about the life of Saint Francis, you might recognize the scenery. The entire thing was shot in Castelluccio.
I’ll see you next year with more recipes and tales from my Italian kitchen.