Soup's on! With the dreary cold weather, nothing is more comforting that a warm bowl of soup. I've had dry lentils sitting in my pantry for far too long and today was the perfect day to use them in soup. Lentils are seasoned with the savory saltiness of bacon and pancetta while pasta adds texture and bite in this hearty Warm Lentil & Pasta Soup with Pancetta. It will keep you nice and cozy on those cold fall and winter nights...
Lentils weren't a common pantry item in my kitchen until recently. I love how easy they are to cook compared to dry beans. They're also packed with protein making them a healthy dish as well!
What I love about this soup is how rustic it is. I added gluten-free macaroni pasta to make it a heartier soup, if not a stew, since I opted not to have too much liquid. If you prefer more broth, add it! This is a recipe you can certainly tailor to fit your tastes.
recipe adapted from Marcella Hazan
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped celery (about 3 stalks)
1 1/2 cups chopped white onion (about 1 medium)
3/4 cup chopped carrot
2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 head of garlic, most of outer skin removed, cut in half crosswise
2 small bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 pound dried green lentils, rinsed, drained
10 cups (or more) low-salt chic
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 pound (8 oz) dry small pasta, cooked per directions and drained
Sauté pancetta in heavy large pot over medium-high heat until crisp and brown. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain (do not clean pot). Spoon 1 tablespoon drippings into medium skillet and reserve.
Add celery, onion, carrot, bacon, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme to remaining drippings in pot and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add lentils and stir 1 minute. Add 10 cups broth; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until lentils are soft, about 1 hour. Discard bay leaves and garlic. Using slotted spoon, transfer 2 cups lentils to small bowl; cover and reserve.