Rainy weather means SOUP!
I saw Buddy (Cake Boss, he now has a cooking show called Kitchen Boss) make this, and since I had some lentils in the cupboard I thought I’d try it out. This Pasta e Lenticchie is a flavorful, thick, hearty, filling Italian soup.
- 2 slices extra-thick cut bacon, cut into dice
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 1 stalk celery, chopped fine
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
- 2 plump cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 1 14.5 ounce can plum tomatoes with their juice, cut or torn into pieces
- 5 cups water
- Chunk of parmesan rind (optional)
- 1 cup cooked al dente, drained and rinsed orzo, ditalini, or other small pasta shape
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon pieces and stir to coat in the oil. Allow to cook until softened, translucent and some fat is rendered. Add the onions, celery, and carrots, stir to coat. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Pour in the lentils and stir to coat. Add the tomatoes, their juices, the water, a pinch of salt and optional parmesan rind. Bring soup up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just about fully tender, 20-30 minutes. Add the pasta and cook an additional ten minutes until the pasta is cooked to taste. Correct seasoning with salt.
- Serve in bowls with a drizzle of good olive oil, grated parmesan and black pepper.
I ended up using 6 1/2 cups of water and an extra can of tomatoes because so much of my liquid burned off during simmering, so next time I’ll keep the lid on. Edited to add: I’ve made this many times since, and if you put the lid on while simmering, it’s perfect.
Buddy and his brother-in-law were cooking together on this show. At the end, they each ate almost a whole bowl of soup before the camera was done rolling! It was so funny because you’re used to seeing the chefs take just a bite or two of what they’ve made, and these two giant Italian guys were just devouring their food. I don’t blame them!