Pasta e Lenticchie

Adapted from Not Another Cooking and made vegetarian. Similar to Pasta e Fagioli, but made with dried lentils and creamier because cheese is mixed in,




The first thing to do is to finely dice the onion, carrot, and celery so that it's roughly the same size as the lentils. Slice the garlic thinly. Then wash the lentils to remove any unwanted debris.

Add olive oil to a big pot, and toss in the diced carrot celery, and onions. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until the water cooks out of the vegetables and gets evaporated then add the garlic and a little more oil and allow that garlic to toast, maybe 2-3 more minutes.

Then add the tomato paste and mix it in and toast it to cook out the rawness. The seasoning on the bottom of the pan should start browning even further, and once it's really nicely browned, but making sure it's not burning, then deglaze with a cup or two of the wine (or water or broth) and scrape up all the seasoning on the pan.

Reduce that wine down by half and then add in the lentils, then add in about a cup of the tomato puree or passata and get it all mixed up and then add 3 cups of broth, plus 3 cups of water, the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and bring it up to a boil, then drop it down to a low simmer, place a lid on and then cook for about 30 minutes before checking again.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid and then fish out the bay leaf. Add another 3 cups of water then get the lid back on and cook the lentils for another 10-15 minutes until the lentils become tender.

Once tender, remove the lid and totally optionally, you can either take a hand blender and blitz the mixture a few times to thicken it slightly, or you can use a blender to puree a small bit of the lentils, it just helps control the final consistency and creaminess.

Then bring the mixture up to a rolling simmer and add the pasta. Once the pasta is in it's going to cook sorta like a risotto, which means it's going to cook a lot slower than the box will say and you going to need to stir it almost constantly to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Keep stirring and season as needed, the lentils suck up a lot of salt and the pasta is cooking in that liquid so you really want to make sure you carefully season this dish properly.

Then once the pasta is fully cooked but still has some nice bounce and texture to it, turn off the heat, stir in a tablespoon of cold unsalted butter until fully melted, then work in about 1 1/2 cups of Parmigiano. It should be thickened but flowing and should be pleasantly creamy. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water, if it’s too thin adjust by thickening it with more cheese.

The final consistency is kind of up to you, you may like it thicker, or you may like it thinner. Then plate in a bowl with some good olive oil and a bit more cheese and dig in. Serve with some good crusty bread. Not only is this dish wonderfully comforting and satisfying on a cold January night, but eating it will give you great luck in 2023.