Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Soup (aka Lentil Soup with Ditalini)


This is a traditional New Year's soup (though it hits the spot on any cold winter's night!). Eat it at midnight along with some grilled Italian sausages and have GOOD LUCK the rest of the year! ;)

This recipe can also be made totally vegetarian by omitting the pancetta/ham.

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. or so of pancetta, chopped (or ham)
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bag of lentils
1/2 tsp each thyme, basil, oregano
1/2 a 32 ounce can of diced or whole tomatoes
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. ditalini shaped pasta (half a box)
Parmesean cheese, grated
Crusty bread

1. Sautee pancetta (or ham) in olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes till it browns lightly.

2. Add onion, celery and carrots, salt and pepper, and sautee till softened. Add garlic. Stir & continue cooking for a minute or two.

3. Add lentils, herbs & salt and pepper, stir, and add about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and partially cover, then lower heat to the lowest simmer possible. Allow to simmer quietly & peacefully for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, cook ditalini according to box directions until al dente. Drain.

5. Add diced tomatoes to soup, stir and continue cooking for about 10 minutes.

6. Stir in cooked pasta to soup.

7. Ladel soup into bowls, drizzle a little olive oil over the top, sprinkle some fresh cracked black pepper, and parmesean cheese. Eat it up with some crusty bread!

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