are supposed to bring prosperity and this current recession has got everyone looking for help.
Together with lentils
, people eat either Zampone or Cotechino. Zampone is really a stuffed pig’s trotter. It is stuffed with ground pork, pork rinds, and spices. There are two different kinds of zampone. One is raw and the other is cooked. Some 90% of Italians eat the precooked version. They usually come in packages in silver foil. The package can be opened and boiled and is ready in just 20 minutes. The raw version obviously takes much longer to cook. Here is the recipe for Cotechino with Lentils
Zampone is usually eaten with the lentils
although there are some who prefer it on its own. This New Year’s tradition comes from the region of Emilia Romagna. The story goes that the people of the town of Mirandola were beseiged in the early 1500s. In order to prevent anything from falling into enemy hands, they killed their pigs and tried to use all of the considerable meat that they got from them despite the fact that certain parts of the pig were not usually eaten. Thus a new tradition was born.
What emerged were two different delicacies: zampone using the pig skin and cotechino which is made using a meat mixture similar to that of zampone but then stuffed into a pig intestine skin. While for the uninitiated, this may sound less than appetizing, it is considered a time old tradition and almost every household has either zampone or cotechino on hand for New Year’e Eve.
Each of the Italian regions has other specialties that are considered “traditional” foods for the New Year. In Naples for example, the desserts will be an important part of the meal whereas in Emilia Romagna, tortelli and lasagna are considered to be the order of the day. The same is true for other regions such as Puglia where there is a long tradition of making lasagna.
Desserts for the holiday include the ubiquitous panettone but also others delicacies such as the Sicilian dessert called the cassata.
Other foods for the holiday include many dishes made with seafood or fish or meat. Some people have a variety of antipasti with a fish base, then move on to a pasta course also with fish or seafood. The pasta course is usually followed by a fish or meat dish.
The dinner usually ends with some type of torrone or nougat dessert. Even if the whole meal is terrible, if lentils and cotechino
are served, it will likely be considered a huge success.