Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lentil Soup, Simplified

Lentil soup has become one of our staples out here in Siena.  It is super easy to make, it tastes good and it is (mostly) healthy.  The Tuscans pride themselves on the simplicity of their foods while maintaining a high bar for overall tastiness and quality of their cooking.  They are able to make a few basic ingredients go a long way.  In going with this tradition, I have modified my lentil soup recipe to conform to the style of the area.

Lately, Becky has been making lentil soup once a week or so.  Her version includes diced potatoes and the rind of a parmesan cheese (add these with the lentils).  Note that the image to the right has a yellowish tinge around the edge; that's because I added a little curry powder to the recipe - I couldn't resist.  The soup is perfectly fine without it.

  • 1/2 c. Pancetta, cubed
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced or chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 c. green lentils, rinsed
  • Black pepper
  1. In a pot on medium-high heat, sauté the pancetta, onion, carrot and garlic together with a little extra virgin olive oil
  2. When the veggies have tendered and the pancetta has browned, add the lentils and a healthy dose of black pepper - dry fry for a minute or two
  3. Add a couple cups of water to the pan and mix well
  4. Salt to taste
  5. When the pot has come to a boil, reduce to a dull roar and let cook for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the lentils are very tender (stirring occasionally)
  6. Serve hot with a splash of olive oil and a couple slices of bread to mop up the extra soup

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