A staple at Neapolitan tables during colder weather, pasta e lenticchie is savoury, warming and delicious. That it takes about 20-25 minutes to prepare is just the added bonus.
Use red split lentils for fast and fuss-free cooking. Any type of pasta shape will do, other than long, stringy varieties (unless you break those up).
You can also choose to make this dish soupy or creamy. I tend to like it creamy.
Serves two. Recipe after the photo
- 150g red split lentils
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 Tablespoons flax meal (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 200g pasta (I used pennoni rigati)
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
- salt & pepper
- a pinch of fresh chopped or dried parsley
Begin by measuring out the lentils and rinsing them under cold water. Drain and transfer them to a saucepan. Cover them with cold water and add the smashed garlic cloves and chill flakes if you fancy spicy.
Do not add salt to the lentils – you will add salt to the pasta. The lentils soak up too much of the salt and you will end up with an inedible salty mess… believe me, I speak from experience.
Heat the lentils on high until they come to a boil and then simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.
As the lentils cook, you will see a foam form above them. Scoop that out with a spoon and discard.
While the lentils are cooking, prepare the pasta in the usual way (see here for a reminder if you’re unsure). Before you drain the pasta, reserve at least a cup of the pasta water to add to the lentils and pasta mixture if you want it more soupy rather than creamy.
The pasta and the lentils should finish cooking at about the same time. If the lentils finish cooking before the pasta, then just keep these aside.
Combine the pasta, lentils and flax meal (adds a nutty flavour as well as Omegas), nutritional yeast and check for seasoning. If you want your dish to be soupier, add a bit of the reserved pasta water and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately with a drizzle of olive oil and a bit of parsley atop each dish.