These lentils are very small, their diameter only reaches around 2 mm and they are grown organically in the Castelluccio Plain of the Piano Grande as a result they are about double the price of other lentils.
The Castelluccio Plain which is on the border between Umbria and Le Marche, set against the backdrop of the legendary and mysterious Sibillini Mountains, takes on a fantastic appearance during late Spring thanks to the simultaneous blossoming of the grasslands and lentil fields, the great valley becomes an immense, shimmering display of colour, the flowers of the lentils being a very bright yellow.
Ingredients – Makes enough for 6
- 12 Italian sausages
- 1 large red onion (Chopped quite small)
- 3 sticks celery (Chopped quite small)
- 2 medium carrots (Chopped quite small)
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes (Chopped quite small)
- 3 small dried chillies (crushed)
- 3 garlic cloves (Chopped quite small)
- 1 tin chopped Italian tomatoes
- 2 litres stock, preferably vegetable
- 500g Castelluccio Lentils (no need to pre-soak)
- Olive oil
- Fresh ground pepper
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large lidded pan, add the sausages and brown them. Then add, the onion, celery, carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, chillies & garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the tinned tomatoes and the lentils, stir round and then add enough stock to cover the contents of the pan by about an inch. Bring to the boil and then immediately reduce to a simmer, add a good grating of fresh ground black pepper and simmer for about 45 minutes stirring regularly and checking if it requires more stock. The aim is to get the lentils cooked but maintain a fair amount of sauce a bit like a sloppy risotto.
There is no need to add salt to this recipe enough will come from the stock and the sausages.
Once cooked, remove the sausages cut them into four or five pieces and return to the pan stir round and serve in bowls with chunks of fresh Italian bread. This will keep in the fridge for a few days and it just as good reheated.