Cotechino? Cotechini? Zamponi?

We had Charlie and Carie over last night for a traditional New Year’s meal of cotechino and lentils—we upped the ante by serving them over homemade pappardelle in a sauce that also featured fresh sage, onions, and pancetta. (Skip’s Italian Food Blog: Felice Capo d’Anno talks a little more about the tradition).

Interestingly, Lisa had trouble communicating with our normally simpatico Abruzzese butcher to get the cotechino. They went back and forth for three or four different dialect variations until they settled on cotechini—which I suppose is just a plural, after all. But it didn’t resemble what we remembered—the sausages were much smaller, while we remembered great big 2-inch-diameter sausages. I think what we had had before was zampone, which is the same filling in a larger skin. It was delicious anyway.