Saturday, March 10, 2012

Red Lentil Soup With Pasta -- Random Recipe #5

Even though this soup is not the prettiest soup out there, it sure was a delicious lunch! Lentil Soup with Pasta was my 5th Random Recipe. I was excited when I randomly picked this book...

from my bookshelf; Williams Sonoma Food Made Fast: Pasta. This book came out in 2006 so I've had it for a while but never cooked anything from it before. I'm a sucker for pasta cookbooks since I'm such a pasta fan and I find them hard to resist purchasing. After I picked this book for Random Recipe #5 I was hoping to get a nice creamy comforting pasta dish, or maybe something with a fresh tasting veggie sauce, like what is pictured on the cover.

No such luck, my random recipe was Lentil Soup with Pasta...honestly the photo in the book doesn't look appetizing to me, and I think mine looks worse than that one, oh-well. It didn't sound bad or anything, I enjoy lentil soup, it just wasn't reaching out to the pasta lover in me, and after picking a pasta cookbook I was really in a pasta mood. I did make a couple of small changes to the recipe, leaving out the pancetta, adding extra carrots and celery, and swapping brown lentils for red lentils, noted below.

Lentil Soup with Pasta
adapted from Williams Sonoma Food Made Fast: Pasta
15 minutes hands-on time, serves 4 (I think it serves more like 6)

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 oz pancetta or bacon (I left this off)
Yellow onion, 1 small, chopped (I left this off and added 1 tsp of onion powder)
Garlic, 2 large cloves, minced
Carrot, 1 finely chopped (I used 2)
Celery, 1 stalk, finely chopped (I used 2)
Fresh sage, 1 tablespoon, minced (I used about 1/2 teaspoon dried sage)
Lentils, 2 cups (I used red, color is not specified but in the photo they are brown lentils)
Canned whole plum (Roma) tomatoes, 1 cup, chopped, with juice (I used the whole 14 ounce can)
Chicken Broth, 6 cups, plus more if needed (I used vegetarian vegetable broth, and about 2 extra cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Tubettini, ditalini, or other small soup pasta, 1/4 pound

1. Make the soup base. In a large pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pancetta and saute until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and sauce and saute until the vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes.

2. Cook the lentils. Stir in the lentils and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the broth, and bring to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt (I used 1 teaspoon), reduce the heat the medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, until the lentils are nearly tender, 30-40 minutes. Add more broth if the soup starts to dry out. (Okay, I have to note that the red lentils do cook quicker than brown, so they will be over done if you cook them for 30 minutes, mine were over done, I completely forgot they cook quicker. Not a big deal, they were still tasty, but they had broken down a bunch by the time the soup was ready to eat and the pasta was cooked.)

3. Cook the pasta. Add the pasta to the lentils. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the pasta is not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. The pasta will continue to cook in the heat of the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.


I made this for a weekend lunch and it was a huge hit with myself and all three finicky kids. It smelled delicious while cooking and was a perfect warm and hearty stick-to-your-ribs kind of soup for a cold winter day. Picky husband said it was "consumable" but did not love it or anything like the kids and I did, not sure why. It went perfectly with some homemade bread with butter on the side. The kids were requesting second helpings and claiming leftovers, which almost never happens, so I'd say this is a kid friendly recipe for sure.

I would make it again, knowing that I would have to add more broth or water (a few cups worth at least) and also cook the lentils for a shorter time if I used red ones again. I was happy to use some of my imported Italian tubettini as the pasta, my daughter just loves the name of that pasta so it was a novelty to her since she'd been wanting to use it ever since I bought it a few months ago. Next time I think I would cook the pasta separately and just add it to the bowls before serving, but this way worked fine too. Even though this soup was not going to win any contests for looks, it had a great flavor and if something can have all my kids requesting leftovers, I think it's a winner. It was nice to try a recipe I probably would have never picked to cook if it hadn't been my Random Recipe :)

1 comment:

pinkstripes said...

I think it's pretty. I love the color and red lentils (well actually any lentil).

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