Lentil And Pasta Soup
|Dried lentils||1⁄2 Pound, washed and drained|
|Olive oil||3 Tablespoon|
|Onion||1 Small, chopped|
|Carrot||1 Small, chopped fine|
|Stalk celery||1 Small, chopped fine|
|Pancetta slice/Prosciutto / unsmoked ham||1 , cut into 1/4-inch dice or prosciutto or unsmoked ham|
|Chopped canned italian plum tomatoes||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Beef stock||6 Cup (96 tbs)|
|Freshly ground black pepper||To Taste|
|Small pasta||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Freshly grated parmesan cheese||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
1. Check the dried lentils carefully to remove any foreign matter such as tiny stones or pebbles. To do this, put the lentils in a colander (the flat type is preferable for this), and swirl the lentils around by hand. Then wash them several times by holding the colander under running water.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the butter and oil and saute the onion until it turns to a light golden color. Add the carrot and the celery and saute for 3 minutes more, stirring from time to time. Add the pancetta pieces and saute for 1 minute more. Then add the tomatoes and lower the heat so they cook at a gentle simmer for 25 minutes uncovered. From time to time stir with a wooden fork or spoon.
3. Add the lentils and mix with the other ingredients in the pan. Add the stock and adjust the salt seasoning and add the pepper. Cover and simmer until the lentils are tender; this will take about 45 minutes, but you should taste along the way to avoid overcooking them. Some lentils will absorb a large amount of liquid and this may startle you when you look into the pan. If this happens, just add more stock or broth (even water) to the soup, as you don't want it too thick.
4. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain, and add it to the lentil soup.