Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"Felice Anno Nuovo a tutti" or “Happy New Year” Plus “Mama’s Lentils With Pasta”

Felice Anno Nuovo a tutti! As the clock strikes twelve midnight, on December 31st, people all over the world will wish each other a “Happy New Year.” For many people, this symbolizes the beginning of a better year than the previous one. Many people celebrate, by going to parties, drinking champagne, eating, dancing, fireworks, and especially by being with their loved ones.

New Years Eve parties were always with family, friends, and the kids. Everyone was welcomed at my parent’s home. I remember when I was very young my mother would tell us to take a nap in the daytime so we would be able to stay up till midnight. As I tried to nap, I could hear all the hustle and bustle in the kitchen preparing the food for that night festivities. I could hear the clicking of the wine and champagne bottles that were to be passed around to the guests for toasting to the New Year. As I drifted off to sleep for my nap, I could smell the aroma of fried vegetables cooking, and the sweet smell of onions, sausage, and peppers being prepared for the party. The smell of food cooking was a delightful aroma that meant love and family to me.

After my nap, I would all get dressed up with my party clothes, including my patent leather shoes. As the guests began to enter our decorated house from Christmas, you could see all the dishes of goodies that were being placed on the tables. As the party continued, it was almost that time, as everyone put on their hats, crowns, had noise makers, and then the count down began- 10, 9, 8, all the way to Happy New Year’s. This to me was my favorite part of New Year’s Eve. My mom would give the kids, spoons. and covers to her pots, then we were allowed to go out in front of our house, and bang on them as we would yell, Happy New Year! As kids this was the best part of the evening and will be remembered for a life time.

Nanni (grandmother) 1987
Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Italy is called Capuano (the “head of the year”) or Notte di San Silvestro (the night of St. Silvestro). St. Sylvester I, was the 33rd Pope. In Italy there are rituals or traditions that are really not followed anymore in today’s world. Some of these rituals include throwing old possessions out the window, in the hopes of forgetting past misfortunes, and clearing the way for good luck in the New Year. Firing up the Yule Log on the last day of the year, is an invitation to the Virgin Mary, who can warm the baby Jesus and then the ashes would protect the house from damage. The dinner menu consists of pork sausage and a lentil stew. The lenticchie (lentils) represent coins, being round in shape and are eaten at midnight, one spoonful per bell. This is supposed to bring good fortune. The eating of pork is said to represent the fat, or riches, of the land. Pomegranates are also eaten as symbols of prosperity and faithfulness. Fireworks and lots of noise also “scare” away the bad spirits. (Now I know why my mom would let us bang pots on New Years Eve)

So, as I close this post, on the last day of “2013,” I want to wish everyone across the world a very “Happy New Year.” Thank you all for a fabulous year, and for reading all my stories, and recipes. The fact that you actually read what I write is such a gift and such a privilege, thank you for making me part of your world. May “2014” bring happiness, health, blessings, prosperity, and most of all love for you and your families.

What would you like to see more of on “Family Plus Food Equals Love” in 2014?  Please comment below and let me know if there is something special that you would like me to write about, or a special recipe that I can share?

My recipe for this New Year’s Eve is called “Mama’s Lentils with Pasta.” I hope that you enjoy this hearty recipe, and make it your tradition for New Years Eve as it will bring you luck, the Italian way. 

               “Mama’s Lentils with Pasta”

                 (Cooking time 1 1/4 hours)
3 tablespoons of olive oil (just enough to coat frying pan)
8 ounces of dry brown Lentils (1/2 package)
4-5 carrots (chunks)
2 celery stalks (cleaned and in chunks)
2 onions (sliced)
2 cloves of garlic (cut up)
4-5 cups of water or beef stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Clean thoroughly through the lentils, so no stones or pebbles can be found. Then rinse the lentils in cold water. Put 4 cups of water or beef stock in pot and boil. After water boils, now add the lentils and lower heat to a simmer about 1/2 hour. While the lentils are cooking, put oil in large frying pan and heat up. Now add the sliced onions and celery cut up in chunks. Cover frying pan and sauté 5-6 minutes or until all ingredients are soft. Now add the cut up garlic at the end so the garlic will not burn. Once these ingredients are cooked till soft add them to the lentils in pot. If lentils are looking dry add another cup of water or stock. Mean while, now clean and cut up carrots in chunks and add to the lentils in pot. Now let simmer for about another 3/4 hour so carrots can cook. Add salt and pepper to taste. While the lentils are simmering cook your favorite pasta to add to your lentils. My family uses, elbow pasta, Ditalini pasta or even broken up spaghetti. (Which is what my great-grandmother Sofia would use, my family also likes it very thick)  Servings: 4  

Till Next Time………….

Copyright © 2013-2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Hi Dottie , you are amazing , you made me hungry as usual , half-way through the post I had to get a cup of coffee and a cookie :D , I always make lentils soup and pasta for New Year and I think I will try your recipe this year , boy do it look yummy .
    I like the posts that you write and I do so enjoy them . Here is wishing you and your family a happy New Year all year long . Belling to you dear Dottie . Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Dear Nee, Happy New Year! Thank you for stopping by and enjoying my post. So many people whether they are Italian or not make Lentils for New Year's Eve. They are very healthy and yummy at the same time. I do hope that you enjoy the recipe. Thanks for your lovely words. Wish you and your family a blessed 2014...Dottie :)

  3. Hi Dottie , the gifs is quite easy and I will tell you how if you like and you can practice with my gifs , that's what sharing is about ... Blessings :)

  4. Hi Dottie!!!

    Happy New Year!!! One of the highlights of blogging in 2013 has been getting to know you and your delicious, comforting blog!!! I'm looking forward to another year of visiting in 2014!

    P.S. I loved my patent leather shoes! And yes, those pots and pans got some work out in our house when we were kids on New Years Eve! It was such fun! I don't remember having lentils though. I actually didn't learn New Year superstitions until I got much older:)

    I think your blog is just right the way it is. You always come up with such deliciousness and thoughtful posts. If there were one thing I would request, would be for your images to be a bit larger. I know it sounds trivial but, you create such yumminess and it would be just wonderful to be able to share larger images of yours on Pinterest!!! (I know it's a silly request but pictures and the internet are only going to be getting bigger and better in 2014!

    Thank you so much for all your kind words and support, Dottie. It is going to be one heck of a New Year!!! Sending hugs, and healthy, safe and happy wishes your way!!!

  5. Happy new year Dottie! I wish you all the best for 2014.
    Last night I had cotechino with lenticchie. I never miss it!
    I love your pasta with lentils here. So healthy and tasty.

  6. Dear Alida,
    Thank you for stopping by and your words of best wishes. The same back to you my friend. Yes, I had my lentils last night as well. Today New Years Day is a day that my kitchen is closed. We always go out with the family for dinner. Too much cooking for Christmas etc, so this is our day off. Gald that you enjoyed reading my post and the lentil recipe. I think everyone makes it a different way and puts their own touches. Yes, very tasty and healthy. BTW, I didn't have red underwear, but I did have a pair of red PJ's plus I put a red bow in my hair, so maybe that will cover the good luck. Thanks again, Blessings, and Ciao! Dottie :)

  7. Hi CQUEK,

    Thank you so much for stopping by and I also wish you as well all the best in 2014!

    Blessings, Dottie :)

  8. I love lentils! We make the same except instead of pasta, we use rice ;)

  9. Hi Christina,

    So happy that you were able to visit! I know, Lentils are so good and healthy, besides I love them as well. We have used rice once in a while, but the pasta is what everyone seems to love! So we have to give them what they love, right! Thanks for stopping by, you are welcomed anytime!

    Blessings, :) Dottie