In honor of Hurricane Irene, I dug up this recipe which has been a staple in my household for the last year or so. It’s an absolutely delicious, meaty pasta (with no meat in it!) … and it’s perfect if you find yourself stuck at home, hurricane raging outside! Why? Because it can be made almost exclusively from products that are in the typical cook’s pantry. Best of all, because of the lentils, this dish is actually more protein-heavy than most other pasta dishes.
My husband requests this dish all the time, because the lentil and red wine sauce eats like a thick ragu and fills him up. It keeps in the fridge for about 4 days, and the sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months at a time (simply thaw and reheat, then toss with freshly cooked pasta). I think it’s best eaten with a hearty bowl of lightly dressed mixed greens, and a glass of red wine, in front of the fire!
(Recipe adapted from Rose Elliot’s New Complete Vegetarian)
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
8 oz. dried green lentils, rinsed
1 T. tomato puree
2 1/4 c. red wine
2 1/4 c. (or more) vegetable stock
Freshly ground black pepper
1 16-oz. box of dried pasta (I prefer conchigliette, farfalle, or oriecchette but you can also use plain old spaghetti noodles!)
1 T. olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
Heat 2 T. olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic, basil, tomatoes, lentils, tomato puree, wine, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then put a lid on the saucepan and turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook for approximately 45-55 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the lentils are tender and the mixture is reduced to a thick puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Approximately 10 minutes before the sauce is done, cook the pasta per the instructions, until al dente, in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain completely, then put back into the pot. Add 1 T. olive oil and freshly ground black pepper. Add the sauce to the pasta, and mix gently. Serve warm, with a tablespoon or two of grated Parmesan cheese on top (optional). I prefer to serve it with a large, lightly dressed green salad and a glass of leftover wine.