Cotechino (Sausage in a blanket)

    (1)
    1 hour 10 min

    Cotechino is a pork sausage typical of an Italian New Year's Eve dinner. It's traditionally served right at midnight with a side of lentil soup. But Italians also look for new ways to prepare cotechino; this one, baked in a short pastry crust, is a favourite in my family.


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    Ingredients
    Serves: 8 

    • 1 (500g) precooked cotechino sausage, or another precooked pork sausage
    • 250g shortcrust pastry
    • 300g frozen spinach, thawed, or 500g fresh spinach
    • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten

    Method
    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:50min  ›  Ready in:1hr10min 

    1. Cook the cotechino sausage in its pouch following the instructions on the packet. Open the pouch, drain and let it cool. Peel off the skin, making sure the sausage stays intact.
    2. Cook the spinach in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons water until wilted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze off all the water and wrapping the spinach in a clean tea towel.
    3. In a frying pan, saute the garlic in butter until just golden and add the spinach. Stir and cook 5 to 10 minutes on medium-high heath. Remove the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and let cool.
    4. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
    5. Lightly dust a working surface and roll out the shortcrust pastry to a disk about 3mm thick and about 40cm in diameter. Brush the edges with beaten egg and leave them off; distribute the cooled off spinach all around the disk. If using a rectangular pastry, make small cuts along the sides (as in the picture). Distribute cooled spinach in the middle, in a narrow and long strip.
    6. Lay the cotechino sausage on the spinach and then fold over the pastry, wrapping is. Seal the edges with the remaining egg wash and also brush the top. Lay the cotechino with the seam on the underside onto the baking tray. Make shallow diagonal cuts. If using a rectangular pastry, alternate the pastry strips as to make a braid. Brush the top with egg wash.
    7. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let slightly cool and serve. Or prepare ahead and serve at room temperature.

    Other ideas

    You can replace spinach with sauted mushrooms.

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