Lentils with Leeks and Cotechino Sausage
- SERVINGS: 6
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- 1 pound French green lentils
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 thin slices pancetta, chopped
- 5 medium leeks, white part only, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra sprigs for garnish
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 5 winter savory leaves, chopped
- 2 1/2 pounds cooked cotechino sausages, thickly sliced on the diagonal and warmed through
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer the lentils to a wide bowl and arrange the sausage slices on top. Garnish with the parsley sprigs and serve.
Sangiovese-based Tuscan reds, with their fruity, tart taste, are a natural choice here.