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Chef Franco Dunn of One World Sausage, which is sold at local farmers markets, calls himself a sausage anthropologist. He uses the web to reach out to sausage makers around the world to uncover authentic traditional recipes, which he then duplicates in his kitchen.

This means, in part, that you won't find the same sausages week after week. If you are dazzled by, say, his Andalusian Chorizo, there's no telling when it may be available again. This makes it an adventure for both Dunn and his loyal customers, though sometimes you have to wait a while for a favorite sausage to return.

Such was the case last winter with Dunn's extraordinary cotechino.

Cotechino is a long, fat, pork sausage that is traditionally poached and served with lentils or in bollito misto with salsa verde. It has just the bone-warming richness we want in the coldest, darkest days of winter.

And now we have it. Dunn will make it week after week through February. A single cotechino is $12 and easily serves four. It is available at the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market in Santa Rosa on Wednesday and Saturday and at the Sebastopol Farmers Market on Sunday.

For cotechino recipes from the Seasonal Pantry archives, visit this column's companion blog, "Eat This Now" at pantry.pressdemocrat.com, where I will also post instructions on making perfect poached eggs and how to poach a cotechino neat.

Faced with a single cotechino and five dinner guests, I decided to make a lentil risotto, which would honor the tradition of cotechino and lentils but rise above its humble warmth. I served Lacinato kale braised with bacon and Algerian carrots alongside. Dinner was a big hit.

Cotechino with Lentil Risotto and Salsa Verde

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2/3cup French lentils, rinsed

1small onion, quartered

—Kosher salt

1bay leaf

—Black pepper in a mill

1cotechino, about 10 to 12 ounces

—Simple Salsa Verde (recipe follows)

3 to 4cups chicken stock, preferably homemade, hot

2tablespoons olive oil

2shallots, minced

2cups Vialone Nano, Carnaroli or Arborio rice

4ounces Weirauch Saint Rose, Vella Dry Jack or Valley Ford Estero cheese, grated

Put the lentils into a pressure cooker, add the onion, about a teaspoon of kosher salt, the bay leaf, several turns of black pepper and the cotechino. Pour in enough water to cover the lentils by about 2 inches and submerge the cotechino.

Set over a high flame. When the water boils, decrease the heat and lock the lid in place. Cook at high power for 20 minutes, remove from the heat and let the pressure release naturally.

Meanwhile, make the salsa verde, if you have not already done so.

Unlock the lid of the pressure cooker, use tongs to transfer the cotechino to a cutting board or plate and remove and discard the onion quarters and the bay leaf.

Strain the lentils, reserving the cooking liquid in a clean pot. Set the lentils aside and add the chicken stock to the cooking liquid, along with enough water to make about 8 cups. Set over medium-low heat.

Snip the cotechino string and slice it into equal slices, allowing 2 or 3 slices per serving. Set the cotechino in a saute pan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Cover and set aside.

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Set a deep saute pan — an All Clad saucier is ideal — over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and shallots and saute gently until the lentils are soft and fragrant, about 7 minutes.

Season lightly with salt.

Add the rice and saute, stirring constantly, until each grain has turned milky white, about 5 minutes. Begin adding the stock mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Adjust the heat as necessary so that the stock does not evaporate. Continue adding stock until the rice doubles in size.

Stir in the reserved lentils and continue adding liquid until the rice is tender. If you run low on liquid, add more stock or water. Just before the final addition of liquid, fold in the cheese, taste, correct for salt, season with black pepper, add the remaining liquid and remove from the heat.

Working quickly, set the cotechino over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, turning once.

To serve, ladle risotto into individual soup plates, set the sliced cotechino on top and add a generous spoonful of salsa verde. Serve immediately, with the remaining salsa verde alongside.

Simple Salsa Verde

Makes about 1 cup

1 medium shallot, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only, finely chopped

2 teaspoons brined green peppercorns or capers

— Juice of ? lemon, plus more to taste

1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

Put the shallot, garlic, parsley and peppercorns or capers into a medium bowl and toss. Add the lemon juice, mustard and olive oil. Taste, season with salt and pepper, cover and set aside until ready to serve.

This voluptuous dish makes a wonderful breakfast on a holiday such as New Year's Day. It also makes a good dinner or midnight supper.

Cotechino with Poached Eggs and Tabasco Hollandaise

Makes 4 servings

— Tabasco Hollandaise, recipe follows

1 cotechino, poached and cut into 3/8-inch thick slices

4 large eggs, from pastured hens

2 teaspoons olive oil

8 ounces baby spinach leaves, rinsed but not dried

2 garlic cloves, pressed

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

— Sliced sourdough hearth bread, toasted

First, make the hollandaise and keep it warm.

Put the cotechino in a saute pan that will hold them in a single layer and set over medium-low heat until heated through; turn them once.

Meanwhile, poach the eggs in simmering water for 2? to 3 minutes.

Working quickly, put the olive oil into a wok, set over medium-high heat, add the spinach and turn with tongs until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the pressed garlic, season with salt, turn and remove from the heat.

Divide the spinach among individual soup plates, top with cotechino and set a poached egg on top. Spoon hollandaise over each portion, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately, with hot toast alongside.

Tabasco Hollandaise

Makes about 1 cup

1 extra large or 2 medium egg yolks, from a local pastured chicken

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Tabasco or other bottled hot sauce

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

12 tablespoons (1? sticks, 6 ounces) butter, melted and bubbling hot

Prepare a double boiler over very low heat; do not let the water boil.

In the top part of the double boiler or a similarly sized metal bowl, whisk the egg yolk until frothy and very pale yellow. Whisk in the lemon juice and Tabasco or other hot sauce and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Slowly pour in the hot butter, whisking all the while. When all of the butter has been incorporated, taste, correct the seasoning and keep warm in the double boiler until ready to use but for no longer than about 30 minutes.

(Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. E-mail Jordan at michele@micheleannajordan.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.)

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