How to Cook Pre-cooked Cotechino: All the ways

A single word, and it’s immediately wintertime: Is the precooked cotechino. This Modenese specialty is usually prepared during the Christmas holidays and dates back to an ancient era when pork was preserved in the best possible way.

Unlike zampone, which is stuffed into the animal’s foot, cotechino is made with a natural casing of mixed meat.

Served with legumes since its inception, it is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve with lentils, which according to popular belief, are a good luck charm for the new year.

How to cook precooked Cotechino

Preparing precooked cotechino is very easy: it is simple to cook, without the need for any technique or any particular tool.

The advantage of precooking is that it radically lowers home preparation time, making this product suitable for everyone, even those with little time to cook.

Let’s see how to proceed: bring plenty of water to the boil in a pot large enough to cook the cotechino lengthways.

Without piercing the vacuum bag and removing it, place it in boiling water and leave it for about 30/40 minutes. For a precise cooking time, always check the Directions time on the packaging. What we are giving you is an average approximate time.

Cooking should be done over medium-low heat: the water should simmer, not a bubble.

Once the cooking is over, the bag must be removed from the water, opened with scissors to eliminate the remaining fat. This must be done with care because the bag will be boiling, and once opened; it will release a lot of steam, very hot.

The residual grease should be stored in a container and thrown in the unique waste and used oil or otherwise hazardous waste.

At this point, the cotechino should be peeled and cut in slices of about one centimetre, on a cutting board and with a sharp knife, to have homogeneous pieces and prevent it from flaking. It is ready to be served, with a side dish of mashed potatoes, lentils or other accompanying vegetables.

What if there’s a leftover cotechino?

Once cooked, if there are leftovers (but we’re sure there won’t be!), the cotechino can be stored for a day in the refrigerator, on a plate tightly wrapped with plastic wrap or in an airtight container.

If you don’t finish it all or if there are only two of you at home, the slices of cotechino that you don’t eat right away can also be frozen so that you can keep it longer, even up to a month. This is done by placing it in slices in food bags.

To defrost it from frozen, you can place it in the refrigerator for a few hours and then place the cotechino on a non-stick boiling pan so that a tasty crust forms on the surface and the inside remains soft.

This also applies to leftovers, unfrozen cotechino: you can vacuum-cook it as described and then pan-fry it already sliced for an even more potent flavor.

You can also do this step with freshly cooked slices: the result will be even better and enhance your dish.

What to accompany precooked cotechino with?

We recommend that you let your imagination run wild for a good combination apart from the classic lentils or mashed potatoes.

Often polenta is an excellent taste pairing: both in the soft and thicker versions, cut into slices and grilled with a bit of oil: a delightful combination.

If, on the other hand, you want to “degrease” it and have a less rich dish, cooked leafy green vegetables, such as spinach or savoy cabbage, boiled and served with salt and a drizzle of raw oil will be perfect.

Recipes with precooked cotechino

After discovering the best way to cook our cotechino and having revealed all its secrets in the kitchen, we can move on to the practical realization of some recipes in which it is the protagonist.

The most classic version in the crust to the most complex version, used in risotto, to a sandwich that will satisfy even the youngest guests.

Cotechino in spinach crust

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 Cotechino
  • 1 roll of puff pastry
  • 350 g frozen spinach
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Place the Cotechino in cold water and cook it according to the instructions on the packaging. Once cooked, remove the Cotechino and let it cool.
  2. Boil the spinach in a little salted water and then sauté it in a pan with a bit of oil and a clove of garlic. Let them cool down as well.
  3. Unroll the puff pastry, pierce the base with the prongs of a fork, place the spinach on top, taking care to distribute it evenly, add the whole Cotechino (without the casing) and roll it up.
  4. Bake at 180° for about 30 minutes. Let cool, cut into slices, and serve your spinach crusted cotechino.

Risotto with cotechino crumbs

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • Precooked Cotechino: 500g
  • Carnaroli rice: 320g
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: 100g
  • Butter: 300g
  • Black pepper: to taste
  • Vegetable stock

Directions:

  1. Prepare the broth.
  2. Toast the rice in a non-stick saucepan and, once toasted, pour in the broth and let it cook.
  3. Cook the precooked cotechino separately for 30 minutes.
  4. When the rice is almost cooked, add the hand-crumbled cotechino, finish cooking and cream with all the butter and parmesan cheese.
  5. Serve with pepper to finish.

Sandwich with cotechino, pumpkin, turnip tops and ricotta cheese

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 Cotechino
  • 4 baguettes
  • 1 small pumpkin
  • Apple vinegar
  • 2 bunches of turnip tops
  • Fresh chilli
  • 250 gr of cow ricotta cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. For the cotechino: Following the instructions on the box, heat the cotechino. Once hot, in a pan, toast a few slices on both sides.
  2. For the pumpkin: Remove the pumpkin’s skin and slice it very thinly. Place it in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of Evo oil, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Leave to marinate for a few minutes.
  3. For the turnip tops: Peel and wash the turnip tops. Cook them in salted water for 3-5 minutes, drain and let them cool. Afterwards, sauté them in a pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and fresh chilli pepper.
  4. For the ricotta cream: In a bowl, add the ricotta, 2 tablespoons of oil and stir the ricotta until smooth and creamy.
  5. Toast a baguette for a few minutes in the oven and stuff it with the above ingredients. Serve.

Here are the advantages of precooked cotechino

Once upon a time, it was only possible to get it fresh, and it was prepared in the cold months, when the pigs were slaughtered.

Today we can have it vacuum-packed, pre-cooked so that it can be consumed in a much more practical way, with more uncomplicated cooking and above all in a much shorter time.

In the traditional raw version, the cotechino must cook for at least two hours, while the precooked one is ready in much less time, just half an hour to be able to bring it to the table hot and steam.

Recipes with precooked cotechino

After discovering how to cook our cotechino at its best and having revealed all its secrets in the kitchen, we can move on to the practical realization of some recipes in which it is the protagonist.

From the most classic in the crust to the most elaborate version, to be proposed in risotto, up to a sandwich that will please even the youngest.

Croissant with crumbled cotechino and fontina cheese

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 precooked Cotechino
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled and finely chopped)
  • A handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 coffee spoons of rinsed capers
  • 4 Fresh Croissants
  • 175 g of fontina cheese cut into thin slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Cook the precooked cotechino in boiling water for 30/40 minutes without puncturing the vacuum bag. Once cooled, crumble it with your hands and transfer it to a bowl.
  • Put the garlic in the pan and sauté for a few seconds, then add the parsley and capers and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the cotechino and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes to allow it to take on flavor.
  • Heat the grill in the oven.
  • Cut off the top of each croissant like a lid. Toast the cut side on the hot skillet until golden brown. Form a hole by gently compressing the inside of the croissants, fill it with the cotechino mixture—cover with slices of fontina cheese, season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the croissants (without the tops) on a baking sheet and place under the hot grill for 2 minutes maximum so that the cheese melts.
  • Put on the plate and serve the croissants with their tops.

Cabbage and cotechino rolls

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 precooked Cotechino
  • 2 eggs
  • 16 large cabbage leaves
  • A handful of breadcrumbs
  • Half a glass of milk
  • 100gr of grated parmesan cheese
  • Frying oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Cook the precooked cotechino following the directions on the box. Once ready, chop it as finely as possible and, in a bowl, mix it with the eggs, Parmesan cheese and salt.
  • Soak the bread crumbs in milk, squeeze it and then add it to the mixture with the cotechino. Mix everything well
  • Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling water for a few minutes, then lay them out on a dishtowel to dry.
  • Make small balls with the filling and wrap them in the cabbage leaves to give them a roulade shape. Tie them with white thread and fry them in hot oil.

Medallions of cotechino with mashed porcini mushrooms

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 1 precooked Cotechino
  • 500gr of potatoes
  • 200gr of porcini mushrooms
  • 90gr of butter
  • 50ml of cream
  • 100ml of Milk
  • A sprig of parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Cook the precooked cotechino in boiling water for 30/40 minutes without piercing the vacuum bag. Once cooled, cut it into slices two centimeters thick.
  • Wash and peel the potatoes. Bring plenty of water to the boil, add salt and the potatoes. Cook them for about twenty minutes. Once ready, mash them with a potato masher.
  • Make the mashed potato, but with the mashed potatoes, 30g of butter, milk and cream in a saucepan on low heat. Let the mashed potato thicken for about ten minutes and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • After cleaning and cutting the mushrooms, sauté them in a pan with the remaining butter and parsley for about fifteen minutes.
  • Add the porcini to the puree you made earlier. Mix everything well
  • Arrange the medallions of cotechino on a plate and lay the mashed porcini mushrooms on top.