Zuppa di Pasta con Lenticchie

Don’t be intimidated! This fancy-sounding recipe is just a simple Italian lentil soup. I obtained the recipe from one of my favorite podcasters, Kathryn Nicolai of Nothing Much Happens. Her “bedtime stories for grownups” evoke cozy feelings with their settings of rustic cottages, small cafes, remote lakes, and nearly always descriptions of delicious homemade foods and beverages. She writes and reads all the stories herself, and her calm voice quickly sends us off to sweet dreams. Hubby bought me her book with a hand-signed bookplate for Christmas.

The narrator makes this soup in the episode “All Day, At Home.”*

  • 2 qts water (or broth)
  • 1 cup dried green lentils (rinsed)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste (1 small can)
  • 4 cloves garlic (whole or crushed)
  • 2 cups ditalini or other small pasta
  • Salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

In medium to large pot, combine all ingredients except pasta and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer 30-40 minutes, until lentils are beginning to float to the top. Add pasta and stir; recover and simmer until desired tenderness (15-20 minutes or so). Add additional seasoning as needed.

Kathryn says, “Sit at the table with the bowl in front of you and let the steam fog up your glasses. Eat slowly and enjoy each bite. Nap after.”

You can also add pancetta, onion, carrot, celery, diced tomato, basil, rosemary, oregano, or parsley in the soup, and/or grated parmesan or pecorino on top. I served this with some crusty garlic bread.

*(In the episode, the narrator makes 1 serving for lunch in her day at home; this recipe is 4 servings. You may reduce or I increase amounts according to your needs.)

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