This is actually my mother's recipe for lentil soup, but I've altered it to make it a more practical concoction. All I've done here is make it thicker...into sort of a lentil paste, I suppose. This way, you can not only use part of it for soup (directions below), but you can use it as a topping for pasta, or mix it with a potato, or whatever else you can come up with. This recipe will make an ample supply so you can have plenty left over for later or for freezing. I never seem to get tired of it.
* Olive Oil
* 1/2 Yellow Onion
* 3 Stalks of Celery
* 3 Medium to Large Cloves of Garlic
* 1 Small Can of Tomato Paste
* 3 Large Carrots
* 3/4 Bag of Lentils (I think they come in 1 lb. bags)
* Salt & Pepper
* Handful of Chopped Parsley
* Angel Hair Pasta (or rice)
* Romano Cheese
The easiest way to make this is with a pressure cooker because the lentils will cook much faster, but it is not essential.
These ingredients will be added to the mixture in the order I have them listed above.
Heat a liberal amount of olive oil in bottom of large skillet. Slice and dice the onion, celery and carrots. Add the onion and celery to the oil at the same time.
Chop the garlic and add it when the onions are beginning to turn clear.
Add the can of tomato paste and some water...let it cook for a few minutes.
Put the lentils in now, and be sure to add quite a bit of water because they soak it up when they cook. ...along with the salt and pepper.
Bring it to a boil then turn down the heat and let it cook for 20 minutes or so, then put the carrots and parsley in...after that, let it gently simmer another 20 to 30 minutes. You will have to taste-test the lentils because some cook faster than others. If you use a pressure cooker, then you will only need to cook it, perhaps, 25 minutes total.
Now, here are a couple of choices you can make with it:
Lentil Soup - Just add some rice or some of those small elbow pasta. You will have to add more water in order to make it soupy.
Angel Hair Pasta with Lentil Ragu - Boil your water for the pasta. Be sure to add salt. Pasta cooked without salt doesn't taste right, and there's nothing you can do about it afterwards. Top the noodles with the lentil mixture .
Sprinkle generously with Romano cheese.