This simple and yet incredibly tasty country dish is based on a meal that Giorgio Locatelli prepared in the „Italy Unpacked“ series. In one of the episodes, he and Andrew Graham-Dixon visit Umbria and, more precisely, the heartland of where the world-famous Castelluccio lentils grow. They buy some amazingly good-looking local sausages and Giorgio transforms those and the famed local lentils into a hearty dinner feast.
I tried to recreate this dish at home, and also added a few tweaks, while keeping in mind that Giorgio Locatelli recommends to keep this dish very simple. After all, this one-pot is all about enjoying the taste of the land in its most pure form, delicate lentils and soft, yet flavor-packed Italian sausages.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 200 grams of Castellucio lentils
- 1 garlic clove, whole
- 1 stem of celery
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 Salsiccia sausages
- 1 large red onion, halved and sliced
- 2 stems of celery, finely diced
- 1 large / 2 small carrot(s), peeled and finely diced
- 100 ml of red wine
- 400 grams of canned tomatoes
- freshly ground pepper, salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon of celery leaves, finely chopped
- For serving: chopped fresh parsley
- Put the lentils, the garlic clove and the stem of celery (cut into 3-4 pieces) into a pot, add water so the lentils are covered and bring to the boil. Let simmer for about 20 minutes (until al dente). By the end of the cooking time, the lentils should have soaked up all the water so do not add too much water at the beginning, but check frequently while cooking and top up with hot water if necessary. Remove the garlic clove and the celery at the end of the cooking time and set aside the lentils.
- While the lentils are boiling, heat up the olive oil over medium to high heat. Sear the sausages from all sides for about 8 minutes, then remove from pot and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and fry for 1 minute. Then add the celery and carrot dices. Roast for 3-4 minutes.
- Deglaze with the red wine. Let reduce a bit, then add the tomatoes and the sausages, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Finally, add the lentils, the lemon zest and the celery leaves. Keep on the heat for another minute while stirring, then serve with some chopped fresh parsley.