The Goodness of a Bowl of Lentils in Pasta Form

I’m always on the lookout to try new ways to incorporate lentils in my diet. I LOVE lentils!

So, when I was grocery shopping last week you can imagine my delight when I came across a pasta made exclusively from 100% organic red lentils.

In thinking what to do with it, I decided to go with a saute of Swiss chard. I often add Swiss chard to lentil soup-  the flavors complement each other nicely.

Cooking this pasta was an experiment and I am very pleased with the results.And as a bonus, it’s a quick, easy meal to put together. Give it a try- I think you’ll be pleased as well.

Red Lentil Pasta with Wilted Chard

Ingredients:

½ pound (8 oz) red lentil pasta

3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 bunch of Swiss chard, woody stems discarded and leaves chopped

Large pinch of red pepper flakes

2 TBS pine nuts, toasted

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method:

In a large sauté pan, over low heat, cook the garlic in the olive oil for a minute or two.

Add the Swiss chard, the red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and cook over medium heat until the Swiss chard is wilted. Remove the cover.

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Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water cook the red lentil pasta according to the package directions. Do not overcook.

Using a spider or sieve, add the pasta to the wilted chard.IMG_4046.JPG

Cook stirring for a minute or two until the flavors have blended. Add a little pasta water if necessary.

Serve, garnished with the pine nuts.

Makes 4 servings.

 

Hypopastemia

Sometime in the 1970’s, my father came across an article describing an Italian’s physical reaction to being deprived of pasta for more than two days. The syndrome was called “Hypopastemia”. It became the running by-word in our home when we missed our pasta for whatever reason and we were starting to get the “shakes”.

We ate some form of pasta 6 nights of the week – sometimes small pastina in soup, sometimes a tube shaped pasta with a meat sauce (aka gravy), sometimes spaghetti with clam sauce, but most often it was pasta with different vegetables. Saturday was reserved for steak and mashed potatoes, my grandparents concession to living in America.

So now after a long day at work the most comforting meal for me is a bowl of pasta with a lot of vegetables plus a large salad and sauteed beans.

Here is another quick recipe. I call this dish: Pasta Verdure (lush green vegetables).

PASTA VERDURE

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks

Zucchini Matchsticks
Zucchini Matchsticks

½ red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Small head of Kale or Swiss Chard, tough stems removed and coarsely chopped

1 cup of frozen peas

1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO), divided

½ pound Penne Pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

2 TBS balsamic vinegar

METHOD:

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan heat 2TBS of the EVOO.

Green Vegetables
Green Vegetables

Add the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, cook another 2 minutes.

Add the zucchini. Sauté over medium high heat, until the vegetables are wilted and just cooked through. This should take about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions, BUT for the last 3 minutes of cooking time add the kale, peas and asparagus. Reserve ¾ cup of the pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the sautéed vegetables.

Heat over medium heat- adding some of the EVOO and some of the pasta water to loosen the vegetables and make a “sauce”. Add the red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute.

Add the balsamic vinegar.

Serve and enjoy!

Serves 3-4