A very common meal for Italians on New Year's (Eve or Day) is a simple bowl of lentil soup. Lentils (lenticchie) are said to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year. Whether or not that's true, I can't say, but I will say that a nice, hot bowl of lentils is delicious...very easy to prepare and so good for you too.
1 bag of dry lentils (16 oz)
3 Tbsp olive oil
chopped veggies - onion, celery and carrots
salt and pepper to taste
1. Place dry lentils in a bowl and cover with water for about an hour. Drain, place in cooking pot and again, cover with water.
2. Put the olive oil in a saute pan and throw in the veggies and ham. Cook on low until the ham gets a bit brown and the veggies are just a little tender.
3. Add saute pan mix to the lentils and add salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 hours on low heat. Taste-test periodically so they are to your desired tenderness.
I like to sprinkle my lentil soup with shaved parmigiano cheese and let it melt through. Also, if you have bacon on hand (and who doesn't?) you can substitute the bacon for the ham. Bacon goes well with just about EVERYTHING!