WARM LENTIL & PASTA SOUP
Warm Lentil & Pasta Soup
- 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 chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons whipping cream
- 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.
Working in batches, puree remaining soup until almost smooth. Return to pot. Add cream and vinegar. Thin with more broth to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Add reserved lentils and pasta; stirring to combine. Divide soup among bowls and serve warm.
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.