500g of Italian sausages (or 500g of a good meaty pork sausage combined with 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds, 1 crushed clove of garlic and 1 teaspoon of chopped rosemary)
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed
250g of Castelluccio or Puy lentils
250ml of chicken stock
2 celery stalks, with the leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of rosemary, chopped
A bunch of fresh parsley
- For the lentils, fry the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil for a few minutes in a large pan. When the garlic starts to turn pale golden, add the lentils, stock and celery and cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft & the stock has all but evaporated.
- While the lentils are cooking bring a large pan of water to the boil. Poach the sausages in the boiling water until they pop up to the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel off the skins.
- Fry the skinned sausages gently in the remaining oil until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes, adding the fennel seeds for the last minute. Remove the sausages and put to one side.
- Add the tomato sauce to the pan you cooked the sausages in and warm through gently for a minute or two, loosening the cooking juices left in the pan with a wooden spoon and incorporating them with the sauce. Add the chopped rosemary.
- Gently stir in the tomato sauce to the cooked lentils, check for seasoning then add the sausages and allow to cook gently together for about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle with fresh parsley and drizzle with a little top quality extra virgin olive oil if you have some.
Serve with a good hunk of bread, a crusty sourdough would complement this dish perfectly.
I would also serve with a bowl of undressed rocket leaves to cut through the richness of the dish but a glass of red wine would also help to do that!