Meat-Believe Lentils Crowded into Marinara
I’m excited to post this recipe I’ve been making for a quarter century. If you are familiar with the Northern Italian bolognese sauce—a thick sauce of ground meats—you will find parallel grandeur in this vegetarian version.
Lentils offer a meaty-peppery bean that truly satisfies. I love them as they require no soaking time.
Although the ingredient list looks formative, the dish comes together quickly. Lentica freezes well.
INGREDIENTS: Instead of celery try fennel bulb; I love its licorice undertones
- pasta – 1 LB, rigatoni, penne, or shells
- olive oil – 2 TBS
- onion – 1 medium, thinly sliced
- garlic – 2 tsp, [2 cloves], chopped
- celery – 2 ribs, [or fennel bulb], thin slices
- mushrooms – 2 cups, sliced
- spinach, baby – 2 cups, packed
- anise seed – 2 tsp, or fennel seed, ground
- red pepper flakes – 1/2 tsp or to taste
- salt – 1 tsp
- pepper – 1/2 tsp
- burgundy – 1/2 cup, or other full bodied red. I prefer “hearty burgundy”
- lentils – 2 cups, rinsed
- water – to cover beans by 2 inches
- marinara sauce – 2 cups, I use prepared
- parsley – 1/2 cup, chopped
- Parmesan cheese – 1/2 cup; plus more to serve at table
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions making sure to use heavily salted water to season the pasta
- In a medium-sized pot sauté the onion, garlic, and celery for a few minutes in the olive oil, then add in the mushrooms and cook a few minutes longer
- Add the rinsed lentils and enough water to cover the beans by 2-inches
- Bring to a boil, then simmer partially covered until beans are tender, about 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally
- When lentils are tender, drain and reserve the cooking water, and a half cup of beans. This will be used for another recipe, and I might add a very special soup! Recipe below.
- Add the marinara sauce, spinach, burgundy, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and cook on low for about 10 minutes
- Option 1: Add the cooked pasta and continue to cook to heat through. Alternately, ladle the sauce over hot pasta just before serving
- Off heat, add the parmesan, adjust the seasoning, top with parsley
- Serve with parmesan at the table
PLANNED OVER SOUP:
This is the essence of my Renewal Cooking classes. Take something cooked and renew it. My notes show I crafted this soup in 2001
Curry Lentil Soup with Romaine
- From step 5 to a pot add the 1/2 cup of reserved cooked lentils and the drained cooking water [aka pot liquor]
- Add a handful of chopped romaine lettuce leaves, sliced button mushrooms, curry powder, cumin powder, minced rosemary, salt & pepper to taste. Cook for 10 minutes or so until the mushrooms are soft. Thin the soup with vegetable stock or water to desired consistency.
- Should you have a sweet vegetable, like cooked winter squash, or yams, dice them and add to the soup along with a tsp of balsamic vinegar.
- Serve with parmesan
– © Recipes by B. Hettig