I’ve wanted to do something with lentils for quite some time. I don’t have any experience with them other than eating what someone else has prepared, so this soup was a good introduction. Lentils only take about 20-30 minutes to soften up, so you can literally make this meal from start to finish in just over 30 minutes. This is a very tasty soup to make on a weeknight when you want a warm, filling meal that doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare. Make sure you adjust the heat to your taste via the red pepper flakes.
Oh, and FYI: Number One (Mr. Picky himself) loved this soup! 🙂
Lentil and Pasta Soup
1 T EVOO
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
6 oz tomato paste
6 cups chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese, plus extra for serving
8 oz orecchiette or other small pasta
1 cup lentils (or 2-14 oz cans, drained)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1. Rinse lentils well and bring to boil in about 6 cups water. Allow to simmer with lid askew for about 20 minutes or until lentils are soft. Discard extra water.
2. In a large skillet, heat EVOO and add onion, garlic, and red pepper. Cook on medium heat until onions are soft. Stir in 3 tbsp (3 oz) of the tomato paste and a splash of broth. Cook for a few minutes. Stir in 1 cup broth and the rest of the paste. Cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Cook pasta according to directions; drain. You can reserve a bit of the pasta water and add it to the soup if you like.
4. Add salt and thyme to the tomato and onion mixture. Either in skillet or soup pot, combine the tomato mixture with the lentils and the remaining broth. Stir in the grated cheese and allow to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and add seasonings as needed.
5. To serve, portion some pasta into a bowl and ladle the soup over. Grate some extra cheese on top.
Serve with crusty bread or crackers 🙂