Ciao'd while watching the Rose Bowl. Fight on for ol' SC.

Happy New Year, everybody! Wishing you health, happiness, peace and prosperity in 2017. Speaking of the latter, Italians traditionally serve lentil soup as part of the New Year meal.  Lore has it that because the lentils resemble coins and they grace the soup generously, eating this dish will bring fortune in the new year. I can taste that private island reached by my private jet right now. This recipe is adapted from Marcella Hazan's The Classic Italian Cookbook. It seemed only right to showcase a recipe from a badass Italian cook. My only change to the original recipe is the addition of sausage. 

Serves 4 to 6

3 tablespoons olive oil
¾ pound Italian sausage
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery (about 1 stalk)
2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot (1 medium carrot)
1 cup canned Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
½ pound (8 ounces) dried lentils, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

In a large heavy pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the sausage and cook until browned, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the sausage to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings. Add the remaining tablespoon oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion to the pot and sauté until golden brown. Add the celery and carrot and continue sautéing, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes more.

Add the cut-up tomatoes and their juice, and adjust the heat so that they cook, uncovered, at a gentle simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the lentils and stir to coat with the tomato mixture. Add the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook at a steady simmer for 15 minutes.

Cut the sausage into ½-inch chunks and add to the lentils. Cover and continue cooking until the lentils are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes more, depending upon the lentils you are using (taste for tenderness). If the lentils absorb too much liquid, add more broth or water to keep the soup from getting too thick.

When the lentils are cooked, correct for salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and swirl in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese on the side. Adapted from The Classic Italian Cookbook, Marcella Hazan, Alfred A. Knopf.