Using a fork, pierce cotechino over the surface and place in a large pot with chopped onions, bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme. Cover with water and turn heat to high to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45-50 minutes. (If using precooked cotechino, only need to simmer for 20 minutes).
In another large pot combine lentils, quartered onions, garlic, bay leaf, carrot, salt and pepper to taste. Cover with 4 cups of water, heat to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. Remove the onion, garlic, bay leaf and carrot and discard. Using a slotted spoon remove lentils and place on a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil, slice cotechino and place over lentils. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve. Serves 4.
Approximate Nutrient Analysis per serving (not including to salt to taste):
620 calories, 20 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 450 mg sodium, 72 g carbohydrate, 27 g fiber, 9 g sugar, 41 g protein