The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165215   Message #3971254
Posted By: Steve Shaw
12-Jan-19 - 07:55 PM
Thread Name: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
Subject: RE: BS: Recipes - what are we eating?
Tonight I did a dish that was inspired by, but somewhat distant from, the very last one in Nigella's book Nigellissima. It's a one-pot job that leaves very little washing up, which is highly nutritious and which you can eat out of a bowl on your knee in front of the telly.

For two people with seconds. Get your heaviest pot and put 100g chopped-up pancetta in it. Brown the bacon, then add two chopped carrots, two chopped celery sticks and a chopped onion. You will need to add a good glug of olive oil. Your best. Sautée that lot gently for a good half-hour. You are making what is known as a soffritto. I added a small pinch of dried chilli flakes to mine. Free country.

Weight out 200g of green or brown lentils. Not the red ones. I used puy lentils. Rinse them then throw them into the pot. Add a can of plum tomatoes and a splash of water and 750ml of chicken or veg stock. I used turkey stock. Throw in a handful of chopped fresh parsley and a bay leaf. Smash four garlic cloves with your fist, peel, and throw them in. No chopping and definitely no crushing. Simmer for half an hour with the lid on.

Check and adjust seasoning and make sure the lentils have softened. Then the coup de grace: throw in about 125g of small pasta. It should be something like ditalini or ditaloni, or mini-macaroni. Not the tiniest soup pastas. They wouldn't be right. I don't like tbat cheap little shell pasta much. I mused about whether to use orzo but thought better of it. If you have only bigger pasta, put some in a plastic bag and smash it up slightly with your meat mallet or rolling pin. Anyway, turn up the heat a bit, leave the lid off and get it to a jolly bubble until the pasta is al dente. It takes a bit longer than boiling it in plain water.

Ladle into bowls, drizzle with your finest olive oil, turn the telly on and devour, preferably with a bottle of Italian red.