Lenticchie, or lentils, are a common menu item for New Year’s Eve/Day meals in Italy, often served with cotechino. They are supposed to bring good financial luck because of their shape like small coins.
Well, we didn’t do the cotechino this year, but I did manage to come up with a way to enjoy our lentils.
Pasta with legumes is a big thing in La Cucina Povera (peasant food/cooking); they’re both fairly cheap, always on hand, and together make a great stick-to-your-ribs dish. You’ve seen it before with Pasta e ceci, one of our all-time favorite meals, and now it’s time for Pasta e Lenticchie for this What’s Cooking Wednesday.
I came up with this recipe by taking bits of online Calabrian recipes–adjusting things to our tastes. You may find that you want a little more tomato or that you like it more like a minestra, or soup. Please feel free to play. It’s hard to go wrong with these ingredients.
Also note that I used already cooked lentils from a can because that’s what I had on hand; if you use dried lentils, check out these cooking tips for dried lentils.
Pasta e Lenticchie
(Pasta and Lentils)
Makes 2-3 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1 peperoncino, chopped (optional)
- 2 cherry tomatoes, diced (remove skins via quick plunge in hot water if you like)
- 2 cups (500g) water flavored with bouillon cube or strongly flavored stock
- 300 g (about 3/4 cup or one can/jar) cooked lentils
- Small bunch of parsley, chopped
- Basil leaves to taste
- 1/2 pound (250 g) small soup pasta, like lumachine
- Parmigiano reggiano or Grana Padano cheese (optional)
1. Heat olive oil in medium pot and add onion, peperoncino, and tomatoes and let saute for a few minutes.
2. Add water, lentils, parsley, basil, and dry pasta.
3. Turn up the heat so that it comes to a slow boil and cook until pasta is done. If you need more stock to cook the pasta thoroughly, add a little at a time; alternately, if you just want more of a soup, add at least another cup of stock.
4. Test for salt and other flavors and adjust accordingly. Serve hot with shredded Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese.