Capo D’Anno, top of the year in Italy, encompassing both December 31 and January 1, a celebration both sacred and profane.

Scratch the surface of any holiday in Italy and you’ll find traces of ancient Rome and early Christianity at the base. New Year’s Eve belongs to Saint Sylvester, and New Year’s Day and the month of January honor the Roman god Janus who, with his two faces, could see both the past and the coming years.

But what really counts is the food. (This is Italy, after all.) To insure a prosperous and healthy year, throughout most of Italy, you must eat a bowl of lentil soup at midnight. For good reason: lentils are shaped like miniature Roman coins. So there you go!

Of course, this meal is no sacrifice since lentil soup is most delicious, especially when the lentils themselves are the soft-skinned and richly nutritious La Valletta Lenticchie from Gustiamo. Entering the code “FOR” gets you a discount, and since they’re from Roman territory, your chances for a financially rewarding 2017 is almost guaranteed.

I miss spending those long months in Italy no matter what time of year, but I have to admit to feeling safer here in Florida on New Year’s Eve. Harkening back to pagan superstitions is the Italian custom of smashing crockery, dishes, urns, and glassware (thus banishing bad spirits), and then tossing unwanted objects–anything from baskets to refrigerators–out the window, thereby making way for new and friendlier sprites.

It’s a good night to stay inside far away from flying projectiles as you slurp your lentil soup. Throw in some raisins and oranges (also edible good luck charms) into the mix, and you’ve got it covered.

A Simple Recipe for Lentil Soup from Gustiamo

Cook the lentils in cold water with chopped onion, carrot, and celery for approximately 20 minutes.
Add piennolo vine tomatoes. Saute a few cloves of garlic in a couple of spoons of extra virgin olive oil until garlic is brown, not burned. This should take about 10 minutes.
Cook the pasta al dente in abundant water, about 10 – 15 minutes. Taste every few minutes to make sure pasta still has a firm bite. We use tubetti farro grain pasta for this recipe but almost any small shape will work as well.
Mix all the prepared ingredients together. Add a few extra drops of extra virgin olive oil and serve warm.

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