It is an Italian tradition to have Lentils for New Years .. In Italy, Lentils are eaten at New Years as a symbol of Good Luck and Prosperity for the year to come .. The Lentils are said to resemble tiny coins .. There are any number of lentil dishes customarily eaten by Italians during the New Year Celebration, including; Lentils with Cotecchino Sausage, Pasta con Lenticchie, and Zuppa di Lenticchie (Lentil Soup) .. Here is a recipe for Lentil Soup that can also be used to make the very popular Pasta Lenticchie, simply by draining some of the liquid from the soup and using the solid Lentils & Vegetables as the sauce the dresses the pasta along with a sprinkling of Olive Oil and grated cheese. Enjoy e Mangia Bene Sempre.
Lentil Soup is quite amazing. It’s inexpensive, highly nutritious, extremely and versatile. You can eat it just about any time of day; for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or anytime in-between. Me? I just love it! It’s my favorite soup and I make it all the time. Make a big batch and you’ll get numerous meals out of it. This recipe serves about 16. From this base soup, I eat it different ways at times. Sometimes I’ll cook up some small maccheroni, coat it with olive oil and butter and use a bit of the lentil soup as a sauce, sprinkling on grated cheese of course. Some times I’ll throw in a hard boiled egg that is cut in four, or I’ll throw in a bunch of frozen peas to the base soup.
These things you do after this soup has already been cooked and you’re heating up a bowl for quick tasty meal, it gives you variety. One thing you can do when you are making the soup from scratch, or even at a later time after the soup has been made, is put in some Sweet Italian Sausages. Yumm, that’s one great Italian meal, Zuppa di Lentichie con Salsice. I guarantee it just can’t be beat. Try it some time; you’ll be glad you do.
LENTIL SOUP RECIPE :
10 oz. dry lentils, 4 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium onions, diced. 3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped. 3 carrots, diced large
1-1/2 cups plum tomatoes chopped
½ cup diced Ham, Bacon, or Pancetta
6 cups chicken broth, salt, and pepper to taste
Lentil Soup Preparation:
Sauté the bacon or pancetta and drain the oil off.
Add onions and garlic and sauté over a low flame for three minutes. Add carrots and cook 8 minutes longer.
Add tomatoes, chicken broth and lentils.
Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until the Lentils are tender. Tender yet a little firm, about 45 minutes.
Serve in soup bowls as is or you can add a little short pasta to each bowl. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top and pass around the Grated Parmigiano.
EXCERPTED From COOKING ITALIAN / GREATEST HITS COOKBOOK
An ITALIAN FAVORITE of CUCINA POVERA