Simple, easy, comforting and oh so tasty!! This is one of my go-to Fall recipes…partly because of how easy it is to make. Now I know some of you are muttering under your breath and talking smack about this legume but just trust me on this one. If it’s been a while since you last tried them, then try this recipe. I promise it’s greater than the sum of its parts. I grew up eating lentil soup that was good – and sorry Mom – but this one kicks tush! Yeah…just in case she’s reading I’m watching my language. Also, try black lentils…they have a unique taste and texture that sets them aside from their brown cousins. BTW stick to either brown or black lentils; the red and yellow varieties are excellent but they cook much faster and tend to dissolve when they do so they’re not well suited to this recipe. Thanks a million to my friend, Anil, in Pune who taught me all about the red and yellow varieties.
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 medium onion
- 3 – 4 garlic cloves
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
- 1 pound black or brown lentils
- 12 cups veggie broth or water
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup dried pasta (elbow pasta or penne)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan (optional)
- Heat a large pot over medium heat.
- Peel and dice the carrots, dice the celery and onion. Note: I like to cut the carrots in quarters lengthwise and then dice into ¼ inch pieces. The celery I cut by slicing in half or thirds lengthwise (depending on how thick the stalks are) and then dicing the same size as the carrots.
- Smash the garlic with the flat side of the knife and then mince.
- Heat the oil in the pot and then add the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the onions begin to turn translucent.
- Add the garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper and sauté until all the vegetables are tender, about 2 – 3 minutes.
- Crust the tomatoes with your hands and add them to the pot along with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils and mix until they’re coated with the tomato. Add the broth and stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add the pasta and stir for a few seconds. Simmer until the pasta is al dente, about 5 – 7 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed.
- Sprinkle with a bit of parm, drizzle with a touch of EVOO and enjoy!
- This goes great with a crusty piece of bread, crostini or bruschetta.
- Change it up!!
- Don’t have canned tomatoes? Throw in some fresh tomatoes…they work beautifully!
- Don’t like lentils…see your counselor. Kidding! Kidding! This would work really well with any bean really except the cooking time for dried beans are much longer (About 2 hours plus soaking time). Check out the recipe for cooking beans and then add them in after the pasta is done.
- PS – Use the stock if you can rather than water. It adds so much flavor to the soup.