Lentils and sausages, but mostly it’s about the lentils

Just back from seeing my partner’s parents in Rome. Spent a wonderful week checking out the sights and La Sapienza’s botanic gardens. She who knits‘ dad took me to Volpetti’s food store where I bought, amongst other things, two expensive bags of lentils. The first, Lenticchia di Castellucio di Norcia, are from Central Italy and have Protected Geographical Status. The second are organic Lenticchie dell’isola di Ustica, which I’ll blog about later.

packet of Lenticchia di Castellucio di Norcia
From http://www.wonderumbria.com/

This bag of lentils was on the counter and I thought they’re pretty. They weren’t green lentils, nor brown. Some were greeny-brown, others more browny-green. When I got back home and was going to cook them, I noticed that there were a whole range of different colours: from brown to a faded green. And some lentils were mottled, others speckled; some more, some less. How bizarre!

Lentils, showing variation of colour from brown to faded green
From http://www.academiabarilla.com

Lenticchie e Salsicce

Put 100 grammes of lentils per person in cold water, with celery and a clove of garlic. Bring to boil and keep boiling for about 30 minutes, adding salt to taste only at the end of cooking.

Meanwhile, prepare a tomato sauce: quickly fry a finely-chopped onion in olive oil on a high heat and then add tomatoes and some tomato puree. Add the sausage meat and simmer until cooked.

Add the cooked lentils to the sauce and cook on a very low heat for a few minutes.

Fantastic stuff! I would take a photo but the digital camera is still in Rome.

This recipe was translated and adapted from the back of the packet of lentils. There’s one phrase that I don’t understand: “La lenticchia non va tenuta a bagno. Si consiglia una scelta a dito e un accurato lavaggio prima della cottura” Scelta is quality and dito a finger, so I think this is asking me to manually check the lentils [for stones] since they’ve not been washed. Accurato means careful in this instance.

Google translate thinks otherwise,

that lentils should not be kept in the bathroom. It is advisable to choose a finger and a thorough cleaning before cooking.

Which is less than helpful…

What I like about it is the mix of precision for the lentils and latitude for the other ingredients. I’ve made this with more tinned tomatoes that I usually would, ‘cos I had 3/4 of a tin left over from Sunday, and I was worried that the dish would be a bit sloppy. But no worries: the slow cooking at the end really binds the dish together.

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