The recipe can be prepared relatively quickly and doesn’t require a lot of preparation.
If you have lentils, strained tomatoes and pasta available, you are ready to go.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Ingredients for the lentils:
100 g. (3.5 oz or 1/2 cup) Castelluccio lentils or Colfiorito lentils (or other small lentils like black beluga or du Puy)
270 ml/1 cup + 2 Tbsp. water
A garlic clove, unpeeled
A small bay leaf
A pinch of fine sea salt
Ingredients for the tomato sauce:
1/2 Tbsp./7.5 ml extra-virgin olive oil
A shallot, minced
Leaves of a couple sprigs of fresh thyme
A small garlic clove, minced
1 cup/240 ml strained tomatoes
Fine sea salt, to taste
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
6 oz./170 g. dry pasta of a short shape, like chiocciole
For the lentils:
1. Sort through lentils and remove any pebbles and bits of debris, then rinse in cold water and drain
2. Place the lentils in a small saucepan with water, garlic and bay leaf. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook gently until lentils are tender. Check after 15 minutes and estimate the time necessary to complete the cooking. (Do not overcook them.)
3. While the lentils are cooking, prepare the tomato sauce (see below).
4. When the lentils are ready, remove pan from the heat and take out the garlic and bay leaf. (There should be a small amount of cooking liquid left in the pan. If there is more than a tablespoonful, remove the excess. On the other hand, if the pan becomes dry while the lentils are cooking, add some hot water). Sprinkle salt on lentils and stir.
5. Towards the end of the cooking, start heating up water to cook the pasta.
For the tomato sauce:
1. In a small saucepan, warm up the olive oil, then add the shallot and thyme. Cook gently for a few minutes until translucid, then add the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes, then pour in the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes. Adjust salt, then add pepper and stir.
2. Transfer lentils to a larger saucepan that will be able to hold the cooked pasta as well. Add the tomato sauce and stir well. Keep warm on very low heat while the pasta cooks.
How to complete the dish:
1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add some coarse salt and stir, then toss the pasta in it. The time needed to cook the pasta is variable, depending on the size and shape.
2. Taste and stop the cooking when the pasta is cooked to al dente (firm to the bite). Remove the pot from the heat, pour a glass of cold water in it, stir and drain the pasta.
3. Transfer the pasta to the saucepan with the lentils. Turn up the heat a bit. Stir well for half a minute or so. Plate and serve immediately.