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Traditional Italian recipe: Cicerchie Beans with Cotechino Italian Sausage

Recipe by Alexander Palermo
Photos by Amy Sheridan

I love cicerchie. An ancient form of chickpea, they look like a cross between corn and human teeth (yes, it’s weird). Cotechino is traditionally served with lentils, but in this dish it pairs wonderfully with the cicerchie (basically an Italian sausage). For a vegetarian take on this dish, omit the cotechino and top the cicerchie with a fried egg. Be sure to buy a huge loaf of crusty bread to serve on the side. Serve with a crisp tricolore salad and, preferably, an Umbrian wine.

if you’re looking for more traditional Italian dishes, try this Three Meat Bolognese Sauce Recipe or a Homemade Margherita Pizza.



  1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the diced vegetables and crushed bird’s eye chillies and cook until soft.
  3. Add the whole cotechino, cicerchie and sage. Stir to coat and allow cicerchie to toast slightly, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the water to cover, about 4 cups.
  5. You want the cicerchie to be covered by 1/2 inch of water for the entire cooking period.
  6. Check in with during the cooking process and add more water if necessary.
  7. Cook cicerchie at barely a simmer for about 3 hours, until cicerchie is soft.
  8. Check the dish for salt.
  9. Add salt to taste.
  10. To serve, remove the whole piece of cotechino and cut into 1/2 inch slices.
  11. Spoon the cicerchie into warm serving bowls, top with cotechino slices and drizzle with a spicy extra virgin olive oil.

Serve crusty bread on the side.

Happy cooking,

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