JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pasta with braised lentils

This earthy pulse dish, just made for winter, had my lentil-hating husband reaching for more. It's richly flavoured, easy, fairly quick (no soaking involved), cheap - a dish you can make with tinned tomatoes, or, if you roasted some tomatoes in the glut months, this is the perfect use for them. It uses two of the few herbs which thrive at this time of year - rosemary and sage. And it's the very first lentil dish Lucius really likes.

Your kitchen will fill with the heady scent of rosemary as this cooks. And the water will turn black as squid ink - which, in turn, will colour the pasta brown as wholemeal.

It's based on a recipe by Antonio Carlucci, although I think it is Umbrian cucina povera. This may seem like a small amount for three, but the lentils are filling, and you could feed four with this much, providing you had a salad, or perhaps a pud.

Braised lentils and pasta
for 2 or 3

150g Puy lentils (or ones which hold their shape when cooked)
1 medium onion, cut in half
6 fresh sage leaves
a sprig of rosemary
250g pasta
2 tomatoes, either tinned or slow-roasted (from the summer)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil

Put the lentils into a large pan with the onion and herbs. Cover with two litres of cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently until the lentils are just done, which will take around 15-20 minutes. Add the pasta and cook until done.

Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes and garlic, and heat in olive oil until they are soft. (You need to use a pan which is big enough to take all the pasta and lentils.) It won't take more than a couple of minutes: whichever type of tomato you choose, they are essentially already cooked, and you don't want to burn the garlic otherwise the dish will taste acrid, when what you're looking for is the soft sweetness of gently melted garlic.

Drain the pasta, fish out the onion and the bare stick of rosemary (the needles will have melted into the dish). Add this to the tomato mess, toss, and serve with a little grated parmesan.


Ash said...

Thanks for this Joanna! I love lentils and anything vegetarian in general. This looks like it hits that winter spot :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Talk about heart healthy and great flavors!! I really love dishes like this Joanna.

Cottage Smallholder said...

I'm really excited about this dish, Joanna. If Lucius loved it then Danny will too.

A great addition to our veggie menu. Thanks.

Ed Bruske said...

I've had lentils on my mind. This looks like it could be dinner.

Rebsie Fairholm said...

This looks right up my street. And just as I was wondering what to do with the rosemary prunings ...

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna I made this dish last night, my husband and myself both liked it, my son wasn't so keen but he did eat it so he will pobably get it again. I resisted the urge to add a few chilli flakes this time round but I will try a few next time. Thanks for a tasty recipe

Oh, Mindy! said...

I made something very similar not long after you posted this and posted it on my blog. Weird.

Anyway, I love lentils and bow tie pasta. It's such a great texture combination!