Lentils and Tiny Pasta
- Servings: 4.
This recipe is from The Art of the Pantry by Claire Thomson who proclaimed this appealing dish as one of her favorites. "Lentils and tiny pasta served together, loosened with a little of the cooking water (not a soup, not a stew and certainly not a pasta salad), topped with a blizzard of grated Parmesan, is my pantry staple supper all year round. Cooked down with carrots, celery and garlic, lentils are anything but humble. You could add some diced bacon to the vegetables as they cook, but I rarely bother. Use green or brown lentils for an earthy, peppery bite; red lentils won’t work as well here."
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to serve
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme, sage or rosemary, leaves finely chopped
- 9 oz. / 1 1/4 cups green or brown lentils
- 9 oz. tiny pasta—stellette, ditalini, tripolini . . .
- Approx. 3oz / 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- A small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, then add the bay leaves, onion, carrots and celery and cook for 8–10 minutes, until very, very soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, until fragrant, then add the hard herbs.
- Add the lentils and stir until they are coated with the oil and vegetables, then add 1 1/3 pints / 3 cups of cold water and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the lentils have softened. Keep an eye on the pan and top up with a little boiling water if necessary.
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per the instructions on the packet. Drain, reserving about 3 1/2 fl oz / 1/3 cup of the cooking water.
- Combine the lentils with the cooked pasta, loosening with some of the reserved pasta water if necessary, and add half the cheese, mixing well to combine.
- Add the chopped parsley to the pasta and lentils and mix.
- Divide the pasta and lentils between bowls and serve with the remaining cheese and an extra drizzle of olive oil if you like.
This recipe is from The Art of the Pantry by Claire Thomson, published by Quadrille, October 2017, $29.99 hardcover and published here with permission. Photograph by Mike Lusmore.