Pasta and Lentil Soup 


“Pasta con Lenticche”

 

“Pasta chi Linticchi”

 

                          lenticchie

 

Lentil soup is a meatless dish, in fact it is made simply with dry lentils, onions, celery, tomatoes, oil, salt and pepper.
Lentils are a staple food in the Middle East, India and in other countries where no meat is consumed. They are high in nutritional value, an excellent source of proteins and a good substitute for meat.
In Europe, the lentils are mostly used by the poor people because of the reasonable price and the nutritional value, also appreciated by the bon vivants as a soup or pureed soup and as a contorno, mixed with various vegetables.
There are a variety of lentils, in Sicily the most known are the “Nostrane”, the European Lentils which are cultivated expansively.
Do not undervalue the merit of the lentils because of the simplicity of the recipe or the modest introduction to this legume because in reality it is very tasty and highly nutritious.
The preferred pasta to make the lentils soup was the “spaghetto spezzato” broken spaghetti. 
Breaking the pasta was a family affair: the children were engaged in breaking the spaghetti which were placed in a kitchen towel and then my mother or my aunt would press and punch it, to break the pasta into smaller pieces. 

 

SERVES 4

 

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ lb. short pasta or spaghetti broken in small pieces
  • 1 lb. dry lentils, no soaking is necessary
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup tomato sauce or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

 

PREPARATION

The Lentils
Inspect dry lentils for any small stones or foreign article, rinse well two times.
In a 5 ½ quart sauté pan, place 3 tablespoons of oil, the diced onion and celery. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent. Add the tomato, the rinsed lentils and enough water to be 2 inches above the legumes.  Bring to a boil then simmer covered for 1 hour.
Keep a pot with boiling water on the side, to add to lentil soup for cooking the pasta or if soup becomes too dry. Liquid should be at least 1 inch above the lentils at all times.
Test beans for doneness if they are ready set aside, or simmer beans until soft but not overcooked. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, and some black pepper to your taste. Cool a few minutes, transfer 1/3 of beans to a vegetable strainer or a blender, puree them and return them to the pot.

 

The Pasta
Add 2 cups of hot water to the lentil soup, bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta and lentils over a medium heat, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom. If it becomes to dry add some of the reserved water. Taste and adjust for salt

 

The Serving
Remove from the heat, add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and serve with crushed red pepper on side.

 

                                                  

                                       Lentil Soup with Bread

                          Lentil Soup