Traditional Italian New Year's Day Dinner
I understand it's traditional in Italy to serve cotecchino (a pork sausage from Emilia-Romagna) with lentils for good luck, so that's what I am going to fix. Let me know if you are aware of any other traditional New Year's foods in Italy, or if you have any suggestions for what to serve with the sausage and lentils.
Insalata, of course. No Italian meal is complete without a salad dressed with red wine vinegar and EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil). You could move up to northern Italy and make polenta. One cup of cornmeal with 4 cups of water or chicken broth will do it.
Just buy plain stone-ground cornmeal, a 2 pound bag for under a dollar. Do not buy anything with the word 'Polenta' on it because you get charged extra for that word. I saw a 7-ounce box of cornmeal with Polenta printed on the box having a shelf price of $2.79.
You say that you don't want to spend 30 minutes stirring the stuff on the cooktop? Here's how you solve that problem. Microwave it for 12 minutes, first for 6 minutes, then stir it and then for 6 additional minutes. Add butter and grated Reggiano Parmgiano to it if you wish. Also some seasonings will enhance the flavor.
Yes, I'm not of Italian heritage.