Wednesday, January 21, 2015

One-Pot Wonder

As part of the wonderful Hibernate workshop I'm taking, we're discussing one-pot meals today.  I've been reflecting on our favorites--cowboy supper, gumbo, broccoli noodle soup, and various other soups--but my favorite is one that is mainly just for me and Mama, since the kids won't eat lentils:  Pasta e Lenticchie.  Half pasta, half soup, it's a recipe I got from "Molto Mario" years ago.  I don't quite make it his way anymore, with the hot oil sizzle and all the parsley (see here for the original recipe.)  I've played with adding various greens, different seasonings, different kinds of tomatoes (from sauce to diced), even different kinds of pasta, even adding a rind or grating of Parmesan cheese.  All good.  In fact, it's quite versatile.

Pasta e Lenticchie
5 cups water
3/4 cups lentils
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, with some juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound pasta--pretty much any shape works, though the smaller is better (even broken spaghetti)
1 teaspoon or more Italian seasoning (also, for non-Italian taste, I've used Sweet Curry Powder and Garam Masala, too.)
optional:  I often add greens, either frozen or fresh (kale is a favorite), to equal approximately 1 1/2 cups when cooked (best if it bite-size pieces.)
optional:  Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top after (or cooked with part of the rind)

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. 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.

Add greens, either frozen or fresh.

Add pasta. 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 the point of being cooked.

When pasta is cooked to taste, add seasonings of choice and serve, perhaps with a garnish of Parmesan cheese.

Mommy Hungry via "Molto Mario" Batali

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