Monday, November 03, 2008

sunday supper: pasta e lenticchie

Homey, filling, simple and tasty, all the makings of a perfect Sunday Supper on a chilly fall day. It's a one pot meal that results in a rich-tasting but ultimately extremely healthy dish. A very classic dish from the Campania region, it is often made using the odds and ends of leftover pasta, or pasta mista. I used capellini, broken into 2-inch pieces, so that it would cook quickly in the same pot as the lentils. I also used way more pasta than the recipe actually calls for because I am a carb freak, so the proportions were probably pretty different. No matter, it was delicious. Recipe after the jump:

Adapted from Naples at Table by Arthur Schwartz

6 cups water
3/4 cup lentils
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, with some juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
3/4 pound vermicelli or capellini, or small tubular pasta, or pasta mista
2 rounded tablespoons finely cut or snipped parsley
Optional: Extra-virgin olive oil and hot red pepper flakes or hot pepper oil for garnish

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil, add the lentils, and cook, covered over medium-high heat, until nearly but not entirely tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, the olive oil, the tomatoes, the salt, and the pepper. Reduce the heat, cover, and continue to simmer briskly for another 10 minutes, stirring a few times, or until the lentils are fully tender.

3. If using capellini, break it into 2- to 4-inch pieces and add them to the lentils. Cook, covered, at a steady simmer, stirring several times and scraping the bottom of the pot when you do. Cook until the pasta is just done, stirring more frequently as it gets closer to that point. If using a small tubular pasta or pasta mista, cook the pasta at least halfway in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain the pasta, add it to the lentils, and simmer to finish cooking the pasta.

4. When either pasta is cooked to taste, remove the pot from the heat, stir in the parsley, cover the pot, and let stand about 5 minutes before serving.

5. Serve hot, passing hot pepper oil or the best-quality extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling on top.

1 comment:

gingoy said...

I made this last night. It's tasty and easy to make and, yes, comes out pretty big with 3/4 lb pasta in it. One thing I changed is that I definitely wanted it a little spicy, so instead of red pepper flakes for garnish, I threw in a couple of Thai chili peppers with the garlic (it still wasn't hot enough). Also, since it reminded me of these dal recipes from an Indian cookbook I have, I threw in a pinch of garam masala at the end -- it seemed like the right thing to do. Overall, a very satisfying one-pot meal.