Zuppa di Lenticchie ~ This is a simple soup to make but is hearty enough to be the main course when a green salad and a loaf of crusty Italian bread are added. In Italy, it is traditional to serve lentils on New Year’s Eve, often braised with a unique type of sausage called cotechino. The round shape of the lentils represent coins which are supposed to bring prosperity for the upcoming year. Lentils are also very healthy and are particularly rich in fiber. Without the added diced pancetta, and by substituting vegetable broth for the meat broth, it can be a vegetarian option anyone would enjoy.
Another alternative to the pancetta would be to use the meat from a sausage link or two, lightly browned. From time to time I also add a couple of cups of chopped kale to this soup. Although I used canned diced tomatoes in my recipe, during harvest season, you could also use diced fresh tomatoes as long as they are very ripe. To serve the soup, either offer freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or a drizzle of olive oil flavored with basil pesto. There are many types of lentils available, but I prefer the small green French lentil or small beige Umbrian lentils which holds their shape well even when cooked until tender.
Deborah Mele (Revised 2019)
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Diced Pancetta
- 1 Cup Finely Chopped Carrots
- 1 Cup Finely Chopped Onions
- 1 Cup Finely Chopped Celery
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 Cup Diced Tomatoes (See Notes Above)
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 5 Cups Of Chicken Broth
- 1 1/2 Cup Dried Lentils
- 1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- Heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat.
- Add the pancetta and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until no longer pink.
- Add the onions, carrot, celery, and garlic to the pot and cook 5 minutes stirring often.
- Add the tomatoes, broth, salt, pepper, and oregano and bring to a boil.
- Add the lentils, reduce the heat to low, and then cook until the lentils are tender about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh parsley and serve with garnish of choice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 330 Total Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 15g Cholesterol: 13mg Sodium: 1538mg Carbohydrates: 29g Fiber: 10g Sugar: 9g Protein: 12g