Lentils with soffritto

Lentils with soffritto

Lenticchie alla Toscana

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
6-8
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

This is the Italian way to cook small brown lentils. They are a great earthy, textural backdrop for fish, pork or chicken. The only difference between lentils eaten this way as a side or as a soup is that a little more liquid is added for soup. Sometimes we add a pinch of chilli flakes if we want a little heat, or a handful of soft chestnuts if we want another texture in the dish. To make this quickly, use a 400 g tin of pre-cooked lentils. Drain the water from them and only add 100 ml of stock to the dish.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the soffritto

Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and lightly crushed
1 sprig rosemary
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the lentils

Quantity Ingredient
250g small brown lentils
150g Fresh tomato passata
or tinned plum tomatoes, pureed
600ml Poached chicken & chicken stock
or Vegetable stock
or hot water
salt
freshly ground black pepper
4-5 sprigs parsley, leaves and fine stalks finely chopped, tough stalks discarded

Method

  1. Pick over and wash the lentils, then drain and set aside. Heat a saucepan over a gentle heat and make the soffritto. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining ingredients and season. Sweat the vegetables over a low heat, stirring and shaking the pan frequentl. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. When the vegetables are soft, add the lentils and stir through. Add the tomatoes and enough stock or water to cover the lentils (you may not need all of it) and continue to cook for 45 minutes–1 hour, or until the lentils are soft. Remove a third of the lentils and pass them through a passatutto (food mill) or sieve, or use a stick blender to purée them. Discard the skins of the lentils that are left behind. Return the purée to the pan and bring to the boil. Adjust the seasoning as necessary and serve warm, scattered with parsley.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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