Cotechino, called Muset in Friuli dialect, is a deliciously spicy, rich and soft sausage, traditionally served on New Year’s Eve with lentils. In the Friuli, it is eaten throughout the winter months and often cooked with beans, onion and butter in this delectable, simple recipe. Cotechino sausage is available at good Italian delicatessens; the cooking instructions vary according to the brand.
Soak the beans overnight in cold water, drain and wash them. Cover in clean cold water and boil very fast for 10 minutes, drain and return to pan. Cover with fresh water and simmer slowly without a lid.
Fry the onion in the butter and oil until the onion is crisp and golden. Pour the onion and the fat into the bean pot and stir, sprinkle in the sage and season to taste. Continue to cook for 1½–2 hours, depending on the size of the beans.
Cook the cotechino separately according to the instructions on the packet, then slice it into thick rounds. Add the sliced sausage to the beans and heat through for 5 minutes. Serve on warm plates with plenty of red wine, such as a Merlot or Cabernet.
© 1995 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.