Adapted from Il Talismano della Felicità by Ada Boni
- 1 pound (454 grams) brown lentils
- 3 stalks celery, washed, trimmed, and peeled
- 2 large carrots, washed, trimmed, and peeled
- 1 small onion, peeled and halved
- 1 pound 3 ounces (538 grams) mild Italian sausage links
- ⅓ cup olive oil, plus more if necessary
- 3 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
- Place the lentils in a fine mesh colander and pick through them to remove any errant debris. Rinse the lentils under cold running water and transfer to a medium stock pot. Add in half of the onion and 1 celery stalk, left whole. Cover the lentils with an ample amount of cold water. Bring the lentils and vegetables to a gentle boil over medium heat, and cook them for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. At the end of cooking, add in the salt and stir well to combine. Taste the lentils for doneness–they should be tender. If they are still firm, cook them a little longer. Once the lentils are cooked, drain them through a fine mesh colander and discard the onion half and celery stalk. Transfer the lentils to a bowl and set aside.
- Place the sausage links in a medium stock pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a gentle boil over medium heat, and boil the sausages until they are cooked through completely, about 30 minutes. As the sausage links cook, skim any foam/scum that rises to the surface of the water and discard it. Remove the cooked sausage links to a plate and set them aside. Reserve sausage cooking liquid.
- Chop the remaining celery stalks, carrots, and the remaining half an onion into small dice. Heat a large straight-sided skillet or braising pan over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Add in the chopped vegetables and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir to coat the vegetables in the olive oil and sauté them until they are softened (but not browned), about 10 minutes. Add the sausage links to the pan with the vegetables and brown them lightly on all sides. Drizzle in more olive oil (in small amounts) if there isn’t enough to help the sausages brown. Remove the browned sausage links to a cutting board and tent with a piece of foil to keep them warm.
- With the heat still on medium, add the drained, cooked lentils to the pan with the sautéed vegetables and toss to combine. Add in 2-3 small ladlefuls of the sausage cooking water to the lentils and vegetables, and cook at a gentle simmer until all the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the lentils to a platter. Slice the sausage links and arrange them shingle-style over the lentils. Serve immediately.