For New Years Day we had a bowl of sausage and lentil soup. Lentils and pork (the sausage) are both considered symbols of good luck in Italy. Lentils are also a symbol for money. I don't know anybody who doesn't want good luck and money so it just seems like a good idea to start the new year.
Lentil and Sausage Soup
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. Cotechino Sausage, or any pork sausage cut into small dice
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced see note
1/2 pt cherry tomatoes, halved
2 14.5 oz cans Lentils or 1 pound dried
3 cups water
salt, to taste
crushed red pepper, to taste
Note: I don't use cherry tomatoes I use canned "small tomatoes from the hillside" from Italy. These tomatoes have been peeled and are grown on the mountainside in volcanic soil. So you can peel you cherry tomatoes or find pomodorini di collina on the internet or eat an Italian import store like I did. The brand that I have is Annalisa.
In a dutch oven over medium heat add the olive oil. When olive oil is hot add the sausage and cook for 3 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, garlic and tomatoes. Cook for 10 minutes until vegetables are soft. Add the lentils and water, bring soup to simmer, cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Season with salt and crushed red pepper.