Lentils with Leeks and Cotechino Sausage



  1. 1 pound French green lentils
  2. Water
  3. 2 bay leaves
  4. 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  5. Salt
  6. 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  8. Freshly ground pepper
  9. 2 thin slices pancetta, chopped
  10. 5 medium leeks, white part only, finely chopped
  11. 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra sprigs for garnish
  12. 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  13. 5 winter savory leaves, chopped
  14. 2 1/2 pounds cooked cotechino sausages, thickly sliced on the diagonal and warmed through
  1. In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with 3 inches of cold water, add the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar and a generous pinch of salt and cook until the lentils are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Drain; discard the bay leaves.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk 1/3 cup of the olive oil with the Dijon mustard and the remaining 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the leeks and cook until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lentils and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the vinaigrette and chopped parsley, thyme and savory. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the lentils to a wide bowl and arrange the sausage slices on top. Garnish with the parsley sprigs and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Sangiovese-based Tuscan reds, with their fruity, tart taste, are a natural choice here.