One of our stops in New York City was Eataly. It is a wonderful stop for a food fanatic like me - it houses multiple restaurants, a wine bar, and an Italian specialty market, with a butcher, fishmonger, and cheesemonger. I can entertain myself for hours, wandering around the market section, drooling over the steaks and seafood on display, fingering the kitchen tools, and...grabbing a bag of Umbrian lentils. (And an orange pepper mill. I had to.)
Umbria is famous for its lentils; other than French Lentils du Puy, they are the only lentils I know sold by region, not color. (That is, all the lentils I can buy in Northeastern Ohio are either just "lentils" - brown lentils - or sometimes green and red lentils are available.)
I usually substitute brown lentils when I want to do an Italian style lentil dish, but now I am stocked up. It's time for Umbian Lentil and Sausage stew - Salsicce e Lenticchie all’Umbriana - the traditional meal from the region.
This is a simple dried bean recipe, so the ingredients list is pretty basic
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Italian Sausage
- Umbrian lentils
- Italian Seasoning
- Petite Diced Tomatoes
See recipe card for quantities.
Regular lentils: If you can't find Umbrian lentils, try French green lentils - they have a similar texture, firmer than regular lentils. That said, if you can't find either go ahead and use regular (brown) lentils; they'll work fine in this recipe.
Italian Sausage: Uncooked, sweet or hot sausage. I prefer hot sausage - I like my lentils to have some kick - but if you don't want heat, go with regular (sweet) Italian sausage.
Vegetarian version: Skip the sausage, and add an extra tablespoon of olive oil.
Italian Seasoning: I keep an Italian herb blend in my pantry; if you don't have one, use dried basil, or a mix of dried basil and oregano.
Petite diced tomatoes: I think the smaller tomatoes match the lentils better, but regular diced tomatoes are fine if that's what you have handy.
A 6-quart pressure cooker. Pressure cooker dried beans are one of the reasons I became a pressure cooker convert, and love my Instant Pot. Try them - you’ll never go back to canned beans. (OK, maybe you will, for convenience - but see the Storage section for tips on make ahead freezer beans.)
This recipe scales down easily - cut everything in half if you don’t need as many beans, or have a 3-quart pressure cooker. Scaling up runs into space issues; if you have an 8-quart pressure cooker, you can double this recipe, but it’s too much to fit in a 6-quart pressure cooker.
🤨 Soaking lentils?
I get the “to soak, or not to soak?” question all the the time. Don't soak lentils. They cook too quickly - if you soak them, they fall apart when pressure cooked.
💡Tips and Tricks
- Salt your lentil water! “Salt toughens beans” is a myth. Salting before cooking helps season the beans all the way through as they cook.
- Try to buy lentils from a store with lots of bean turnover. Beans dry out as they age, which makes them a little tougher to cook.
- Simmer to thicken: If you have the time, and want thicker bean liquid, simmer the beans for 10 minutes after pressure cooking. I set my Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to low, set the timer to 10 minutes, and leave the lid off to let the broth evaporate.
Pressure Cooker Umbrian Lentils and Sausage recipe. Salsicce e Lenticchie, Umbrian sausage and lentil stew, in my Instant Pot pressure cooker.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, cut into ½-inch rings
- 500g (about 1 pound) Umbrian lentils (or brown lentils)
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 4 cloves crushed garlic
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or dried basil)
- 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes with juices
- 6 cups water
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- Rinse the lentils: Put the lentils in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let stand to drain while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- Brown the sausage: Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat until the oil starts shimmering. (Use browning mode or sauté mode adjusted to high in an electric pressure cooker). Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy around on the edges, about 5 minutes. Move the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving as much fat behind as possible.
- Sauté the aromatics: Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pressure cooker. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Sauté until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes, scraping any browned bits of sausage from the bottom of the pot into the onions.
- Pressure cook the lentils for 10 minutes with a natural pressure release: Add the lentils to the pot and stir into the aromatics, scraping the bottom of the pot again to loosen any browned onions. Stir in the browned sausage and any juices in the bowl. Stir in the can of tomatoes. Pour in the 6 cups of water and add 1½ teaspoons of salt. Lock the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes in an electric PC or 8 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes.
- Serve: Remove the lid from the pressure cooker. Taste the lentils for doneness. If the lentils aren’t soft enough, simmer for another five minutes or so (don’t bring back to pressure – use simmer mode on the cooker or simmer on the stovetop). Serve and enjoy!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Pressure Cooker Umbrian Lentils and Sausage, Instant Pot Umbrian Lentils and Sausage
A 2-cup container of beans and sausage will last in the refrigerator for a few days, and freeze for up to 6 months. This makes a great freezer lunch; I grab my 2-cup container, microwave it for 5 minutes or so (until it is hot in the center), and lunch is ready.
🤝 Related Posts
Pressure Cooker Pasta and Bean Soup (Pasta e Fagioli, AKA Pasta Fazool)
Pressure Cooker French Lentils
Pressure Cooker Quick Tomato Sauce
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes
My other Pressure Cooker Time Lapse Videos
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