Traditional recipes

Cotechino (Sausage in a blanket) recipe

Cotechino (Sausage in a blanket) recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Starters
  • Starters with eggs

Cotechino is a pork sausage typical of an Italian New Year's Eve dinner. It's traditionally served right at midnight with a side of lentil soup. But Italians also look for new ways to prepare cotechino; this one, baked in a short pastry crust, is a favourite in my family.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 8

  • 1 (500g) precooked cotechino sausage, or another precooked pork sausage
  • 250g shortcrust pastry
  • 300g frozen spinach, thawed, or 500g fresh spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:50min ›Ready in:1hr10min

  1. Cook the cotechino sausage in its pouch following the instructions on the packet. Open the pouch, drain and let it cool. Peel off the skin, making sure the sausage stays intact.
  2. Cook the spinach in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons water until wilted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze off all the water and wrapping the spinach in a clean tea towel.
  3. In a frying pan, saute the garlic in butter until just golden and add the spinach. Stir and cook 5 to 10 minutes on medium-high heath. Remove the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and let cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  5. Lightly dust a working surface and roll out the shortcrust pastry to a disk about 3mm thick and about 40cm in diameter. Brush the edges with beaten egg and leave them off; distribute the cooled off spinach all around the disk. If using a rectangular pastry, make small cuts along the sides (as in the picture). Distribute cooled spinach in the middle, in a narrow and long strip.
  6. Lay the cotechino sausage on the spinach and then fold over the pastry, wrapping is. Seal the edges with the remaining egg wash and also brush the top. Lay the cotechino with the seam on the underside onto the baking tray. Make shallow diagonal cuts. If using a rectangular pastry, alternate the pastry strips as to make a braid. Brush the top with egg wash.
  7. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let slightly cool and serve. Or prepare ahead and serve at room temperature.

Other ideas

You can replace spinach with sauted mushrooms.

Recently viewed

Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound dried cranberry beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • water as needed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 pound Cotechino sausage
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Place cranberry beans into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water let stand 8 hours to overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Stir in onion. Cook, stirring, until onions are softened and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cranberry beans, chicken broth, water, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and thyme.

Pierce Cotechino all over with the tip of a knife, then place in broth and beans mixture. Bring to a simmer, skimming any foam that accumulates. Reduce heat to low cook until beans are tender, 1 hour. Transfer Cotechino to a cutting board discard string and casing, then slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Stir Swiss chard into bean and broth mixture. Simmer until chard is wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the Cotechino rounds until crisped and browned, about 1 minute per side. Ladle beans into bowls and top with Cotechino rounds.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 pound cotechino
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 pound dry green lentils
  • 1 onions, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large carrot, quartered
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Pierce the cotechino with a fork in several places. In a large pot place the cotechino, chopped onion, 1 bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme. Cover with water and bring all to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, if using fresh cotechino (for precooked cotechino, simmer for 20 minutes).

In a large pot combine the lentils, quartered onion, garlic, bay leaf, carrot and salt and pepper to taste. Cover with the 4 cups of water. Bring all to a boil cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add additional water if necessary.

Remove the onion, garlic, bay leaf and carrot discard. Spoon the lentils into a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil and slice rounds of the cotechino over the top. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Cotechino con Lenticchie (Cotechino Sausage with Lentils)

Symbolizing wealth and good fortune for the coming year, this hearty dish of cotechino sausage with lentils is traditionally served on New Year’s Eve in Italy – though it’s so delicious that we find ourselves reaching for this recipe year-round. Enjoy with mashed potatoes or lots of crusty bread for soaking up the juices.

Cotechino con Lenticchie (Cotechino Sausage with Lentils)
Recipe courtesy of Eataly

3 pounds precooked cotechino sausage in casing (approximately 3 sausages)
2 cups lentils
6 garlic cloves, crushed
½ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes, or to taste
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon fresh sage, minced
½ teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
Fine sea salt, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf, and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the lentils and pour in just enough water to cover them. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover, and allow the lentils to simmer very gently until they are tender and creamy, 35 to 45 minutes. Check occasionally, and add water in very small amounts if the lentils begin to stick before they are fully cooked.

Fill a large pot halfway with water. Prick the cotechino in several places with a pin. (Don’t use a fork: the holes will be too large.) Add the sausages to the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the sausages until you see the fat in the casing change from a solid to a liquid and the sausages begin to plump up, 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the sausages. Remove the sausages from the water, and place them on a dry towel.

Pour the remaining ½ cup olive oil into a large pan, and set over medium heat. Scatter the garlic cloves in the pan. Cook until light brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and discard. Scatter the chili pepper flakes in the infused oil, increase the heat, and immediately place the sausages in the pan. (The oil may spatter stand back!)

Cook the sausages, rotating them frequently, until they’re lightly browned on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the sausages from the pan, allow them to rest for a few minutes, then slice them into ¼ inch rounds. To serve, place some of the lentils in individual serving bowls, and top each portion with a few slices of cotechino.

Cotechino (Sausage in a blanket) recipe - Recipes

Think of how generations have changed. These days if you ask a child which is the best day of the year he/she would probably say: “My birthday” or “Christmas time”.

During post war days when my dad was at school and the teacher would ask the same question to her pupils, they would reply in unison:“It’s when we slaughter the pig, Miss!”.

After to second world war Italy, like the rest of Europe, was left quite poor. Most people would rarely eat meat and usually they had to wait until Sunday to get a more substantial meal. Most families would keep animals, like chickens, cows, rabbits and pigs in order to feed themselves.

So can you imagine when the family would slaughter the pig That was the day when there would have been plenty of food on the table and all the family, relatives and friends would gather for a real feast.

In Italy there are still families in the countryside who keep their own pig and make their own sausages, salami, ham and steaks.

If the pig has had a good life, has been fed with good quality food and has been killed humanly, the meat will be delicious and it will taste completely different to what you can buy at a supermarket.

So here we are again, in north eastern Italy, in the region of “Friuli Venezia Giulia” where every year in late December, our friends known as “the brothers” host the traditional mega pig festival in celebration of all things that are PIG.

The guys, all strong, tough country men, work very hard to make fab salami, sausages and cotechino from scratch and in a completely natural method. No additives or preservatives: just meat, salt and pepper and more spices.

It really is hard work: first you chop and select the meat and then you mince it to create all sort of different cured specialities.

To make Italian sausages the meat used mostly is the pancetta (bacon), some fillet and 25 % of fat.

The meat is being minced twice at 8 mm or 0.3 inch and then it is weighed in order to know how much salt and spices (pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon) to add.

The guys give it a good mix (by hand of course)

And they add some wine for extra flavour

The bowel of the pig is washed and used to encase the mince so it is all completely natural. These days, to save on some extra work, butchers buy cow’s and sheep’s bowels too which have already been washed and cleaned.

The mince is then stuffed into the bowels

The stuffed bowels are cut with a cotton string and turned into sausages, salami, sausages, “ossocollo” which is made up of cured pork on the inside surrounded by sopressa salami, flavoured with spices and aromas and matured over a long period in the cellar.

They are then prickled so that the bowels will lose some liquid.

Fresh sausages will last in the fridge for a few weeks after that they need to be kept in the freezer.

Nothing is wasted: the fat of the pig is kept to melt over a source of heat and used in cooking.

Sopressa is made with just about everything: the hams, shoulders, sides, and so on. About the only thing that doesn’t go into it is the skin.

With the skin chopped into pieces, the meat and the fat they will make cotechino which is traditionally eaten on New Year’s party with lentils and polenta.

The name “Cotechino” derives from the Italian word for pig skin cotiche, and as you might imagine, it contains a fair amount of them.

The ribs are kept for delicious summer barbecues.

Zampone has the same recipe of cotechino, except the mixture is stuffed into a deboned front pig leg, instead of casings. These sausages are supposed to bring fortune in the new year (with the lentils bringing money).

The best way to enjoy zampone and cotechino is by barbecuing them so they will release some of the fat. This makes them even more tasty.



Get Cappers Farmer Delivered Directly To Your Inbox

Excerpt fromEasy Sausage Making: Essential Techniques and Recipes to Master Making Sausages at Home, by Will Budiaman, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2017 by Callisto Media. All rights reserved.

Published on Jul 16, 2019

Probably one of my all-time favorite eating traditions involves gorging myself on super tender lentils that have been cooking with a juicy, flavor-packed sausage… FACT. The tradition comes from the Emilian-Romagna region of Italy, where they believe that the more coin-shaped Cotechino and lentils you eat on New Year’s Day, the more luck and wealth you will have in your next year… PROBABLY FACT. I am a superstitious Greek man who cannot turn down the opportunity to get lucky and prosper… FACT.

Cotechino is known for its unique texture (slightly “sticky” from skin) and big flavors (sweet cinnamon and spicy chili flake). I make it once a year, for luck, and this year I want to share it with all of you! After all, who can’t use a bit more luck in the coming year?


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 small celery stalks, diced

1 bunch thyme, washed and tied with butcher twine

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 Cotechino, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 bunches of green onions, cut on a bias

Pre heat your oven to 350F.

Place a medium size pot with a tight fitting lid on your stove top on medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 15 minutes stirring with a wooden spoon taking care not to burn them. You are looking for a really tender veg with minimal color.

Add the lentils and give them a good stir. Add 2 quarts of the chicken stock and bring to a simmer stirring to ensure that you do not scorch the lentils to the bottom of the pan. Once the lentils have started to simmer add the bunch of thyme and a good pinch of salt. Place a lid on top of your pot and place it in your oven for one hour.

At the hour point check your lentils. You are looking for a really tender lentil. NO CRUNCH AT ALL!! If they need a bit more time check that there is enough liquid. They should be “soupy” if they need more liquid, add the remainder of the chicken stock.

When you are happy with the texture of your perfectly tender lentils remove them from your oven and place them on very low heat on your stove top. Add the sherry vinegar, give it a good stir taste for salt then add the whole Cotechino to the lentils. Place the lid on top and allow the sausage to heat through. About ten minutes.

Remove the cotechino, carefully peel the casings (using your iron chef skills and not burning yourself), slice it into ½” rounds and crisp them up in a non-stick teflon with a bit of oil. Add your scallions to the lentils and plate them onto your favorite serving platter, lay the perfectly golden, delicious, once-in-a-year cotechino sausages atop and you’re ready to party!

At this point, you should take out the champagne that you so wisely did not finish from last night and pour a glass for yourself. Remember that the more you eat the luckier you will be and how much we here at OP appreciate you all.

How To Cook Cotechino

Precooked Cotechino

Follow directions on the package. Normally, it takes 20-30 minutes of boiling for sealed precooked cotechino to be ready to serve.

Fresh Cotechino

Let fresh cotechino soak in cold water for about 2 hours. This will make the skin softer and will prevent it from baking when boiled.

With a toothpick or a skewer make a few holes around cotechino sausage. This will also prevent it from breakage. Wrap cotechino in cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine.

Fill a large pot with cold water enough to cover cotechino. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Cooking time depends on the cotechino quality you get.

If you buy fresh cotechino at the butcher, ask them how long their cotechino should be cooked.


If you haven't already got Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage Meat Book, then go out and get it. Even if you don't use the recipes for curing, even if you don't cook, it is a good read and could inspire you to start living the self-sufficient good life.

Cotechino is a large, rich Italian pork sausage made with as much rind and fat as lean meat. You cook it by boiling, and it's usually served in slices with lentils. As Hugh says, the factory-made cotechinos are generally pretty good but, if you're the have-a-go type, they're not that difficult to make. This recipe comes via Hugh from the legendary Mauro Bregoli. When he owned the Manor House in Romsey, Hampshire, he was a guru for gastronomes who wanted to get stuck into the Italian way of finding, making, cooking and eating food. Mauro was a mushroom gatherer and a master of the art of Italian sausage making.

For your cotechino, choose casings according to the shape you want your sausage to be. Ox middle casings (5-10cm wide) for a salami style cotechino so you get slices, or ox bung (about 15cm) for a haggis style sausage, if you want wedges. You'll also need butcher's string.

1kg fairly lean pork shoulder
400g back fat or fatty pork belly
600g pork rind
50g fine salt
10g saltpetre (optional)
1 glass of red wine
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp freshly ground black pepper
A good pinch of grated nutmeg
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground cloves
A good pinch of ground mace
1/2tsp dried thyme
4 dried bay leaves, ground up

First soak the casings for about an hour in a large bowl of water, then rinse them thoroughly to get rid of the salt and run the tap through their insides to flush them clean.

Ideally, you should finely dice the meat and fat by hand into petit-pois-sized cubes. If not, mince it coarsely or get the butcher to mince it for you. The pork rind must also be finely chopped by hand as a food processor probably couldn't cope with it. Now combine the chopped and minced meat with all the ingredients in a large basin, mixing thoroughly with your hands.

Using a sausage machine or food-mixer attachment - or, if you have neither of these, by forcing the meat through a funnel - fill the skins until you have sausages about 25cm long, tightly packed. Double knot your cotechino at either end with the butcher's string, then hang it in a dry, airy place, such as a draughty outbuilding or covered porch. Or the fridge, if yours happens to be big enough. Make sure they don't touch each other. They are good for boiling any time after about 5 days but perhaps at their best at around 15-20 days. By about 40 days they will be pretty dry and hard. If you want to keep them any longer, wrap them in clingfilm and refrigerate for another month or so. To keep them for longer still, freeze them.

To cook a cotechino, completely immerse the sausage in a pan of fresh, cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer thin ones (stuffed middles) gently for about 11/2 hours or 21/2 hours for fat ones (stuffed bung). Cut into thick slices and serve with the sauce.

2 large or 4 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp chopped thyme leaves
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1tbsp olive oil
250g cannellini beans or similar, cooked
500ml chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gently cook the shallots, garlic, thyme and carrot with the bay leaf in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes without colouring, giving the occasional stir. Add the cannellini beans and chicken stock, bring to the boil, season and simmer on a medium heat until almost all the stock has evaporated and the sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes.

Notes about this recipe

Member Rating


Where’s the full recipe - why can I only see the ingredients?

At Eat Your Books we love great recipes – and the best come from chefs, authors and bloggers who have spent time developing and testing them.

We’ve helped you locate this recipe but for the full instructions you need to go to its original source.

If the recipe is available online - click the link “View complete recipe”– if not, you do need to own the cookbook or magazine.

Watch the video: Cotechino Sausage - How to Use Cotechino Italian Sausage (November 2021).