Prepare the lentil cream. Rinse the lentils in cold water, then put them in a pot with a litre of water and a sprig of rosemary. Bring to a boil and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, until the lentils surrender in a thin cream. Season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Now make the risotto. Finely chop the shallots and sauté over low heat in a pan with a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
When the shallot is soft and turns golden, add the rice and toast it stirring with a wooden spoon. When it becomes translucent, pour in the white wine and add the crumbled sausages. Reduce the wine.
Cook the rice adding the stock gradually as it is absorbed, then finish with the cream of lentils.
When the rice is cooked but still al dente, stir in the Tuscan pecorino cheese and serve hot and creamy.
In the beginning it was born to recycle the New Year’s Eve leftovers. Taken by the enthusiasm of the celebrations, the amount of lentils and cotechino I cooked for that dinner surpassed by far the good intentions of the guests. The next day the crumbled cotechino and a few tablespoons of lentils married in a risotto that became immediately one of my favourites.
Today I do it on purpose, using sausages instead of cotechino and preparing a thin soup of creamy red lentils in advance, something that later will give to the risotto an incredibly silky texture.
Born and bred in Tuscany, I am a food writer and a food photographer. I live in the countryside between Siena and Florence, where I also teach Tuscan cooking classes for locals and tourists. In 2017 my fifth cookery book will be published. As for every Tuscan home cook, legumes, especially beans and chickpeas, are part of my daily life and my culinary traditions.